This morning I saw something I haven’t seen too often lately. While walking in San Francisco to the office, a guy had a little radio and was playing some music, a little loud, early in the morning. I realized I don’t see this happen that often these days.
The days of individuals carrying around a big boom box have pretty much gone away with those who used to carry a piece of cardboard to breakdance on. This auditory display made me think of two different things.
Why is it people don’t carry or really use boom boxes anymore? Granted, these suckers required about 18 D-sized batteries to run hopefully a single cassette before you had to search for more batteries. These days, people are more about the sleek and compact nature of today’s technology. No one wants to carry a huge stereo when you can get a tiny set of speakers that will likely sound better than the boom boxes from days long ago. It’s just not the same thing. You can’t put your iPod or portable speakers on your shoulder and walk the streets and command the same amount of respect from the old days.
The other thing I thought of is why do people think others want to hear what they’re listening to. This fella in the morning decided he wanted to share whatever he was jamming to with anyone walking by. This is also something that often happens when people drive cars with a decent sound system. I’ll admit I crank up the radio when a really groovy song comes on. I’ve never had the urge to crank down my windows to share the tune with the world (yeah, we don’t have to ‘crank’ our windows down these days either thanks to power windows). I’ve never understood how someone catching a second or two of a song or just the deep bass of a track would be enough to inspire someone to stand up and start dancing as the car drives by.
People do still listen to music quite a bit. In the city, you can count on seeing several individuals sporting headphones attached to their phones, iPods, or maybe even nothing to distract others from trying to talk to them.
The days of the boom box have passed us by. Do people still buy these giant-sized music players? Where have all the boom boxes gone? Is there a landfill somewhere with them stacked to the sky?
As for what song the guy was playing in the morning, I couldn’t tell you. The sound quality was pretty bad and I couldn’t make it out. Perhaps another reason why we’ve all moved towards smaller sound systems with better sound quality.