Will we have to surgically remove your iPod earbuds?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Dano

I’m at the end of my rope.

For someone who is as verbose as I am, and who values the art of communication as much as I do, I can’t understand why I’m struggling to communicate with the Son .

Between you and me, I think those earbuds, which I’m certain will have to be surgically removed, have something to do with it.

Never in a million years, did I foresee how an iPod would cause such a communication barrier between the male heir to my debt and I.

But it has, and as a result, I’m angry.

Angry? What am I saying? I’m pissed.

I want to hire the lawyers who got OJ Simpson off the first time and sue the makers of Apple, whoever they are.

They have caused a barrier between my little boy and I that gets wider as time wears on.

Or I should say, as he continues to add tunes to his iTunes library?

Yet the fact remains that life as we knew it, ceased to exist with the purchase of the little freak.

Breakfast stopped being the best part of our day as I tried to compete with the tiny noise maker while it played at decibels more piercing than a dog whistle.

As time progressed, I learned the art of hand gestures and wondered if my child had gone deaf given he responded to them without so much as removing his earbuds.

I worried that when the cilia in his ears met their demise, it would be necessary for him to wear a hearing aid, years before I had to wear one.

I had countless monologues conversations with him about the fact that it didn’t matter how handsome he was, he was destined to have a harder time getting girls if he couldn’t hear.

(We ladies know how much we value a man who listens, now don’t we?)

His response? He’d learn to lip read.

Lip read my ass.

He couldn’t even take his dishes to the sink, what made him think he was going to invest time in a lip-reading course?

As time went on, I became savvy at making signs which I diligently held up when I needed to notify him of important matters.

Countless number of hours were spent writing the phrases, “What do you want for dinner?” “What time are you coming home?” and my favorite, “WHY’D YOU LEAVE THE TOILET SEAT UP???”

My cue cards were met by grunts, nods, and short, scribbled replies.

In the meantime, Mr. iPod continued to mock me, laugh at me, and snicker behind my back.

He reigned triumphantly, playing his little tunes, louder and louder, and for longer periods of time.

I tried hiding him, draining his battery, smothering him with a pillow, but like a cat, he kept coming back to life.

Fast forward four years, and my verbal conversation with the Son continues to take place only when Mr. iPod is charging.

I take advantage of that time to prompt meaningful conversation.

I talk about subjects conducive to round table discussions.

I mention current events that might spark conversation.

I enumerate goals which every young person should aspire to, and compliment him for any completed chore.

On this fine morning, I was given another opportunity while the little monster regained strength.

This time, I opted to talk about the future.

After all, my baby was entering his junior year of college in the fall and I thought the “future talk” was long overdue.

I delicately introduced the subject saying, “When I was a little girl…”

The look on his face told me this wasn’t going to end well.

So I sped up and said, “Son, there comes a time in a man’s life …”

Again, the eye rolling and the exasperated sigh told me I had two more minutes before he zoned out.

So I decided to make a short two-minute speech that would impress him; that would create awareness about the importance of planning for the future.

I defined the significance of a two, five, and ten-year plan.

I spoke of drive, ambition, courage, and perseverance.

I mentioned the importance of having dreams, following our hearts, and staying on the path of fulfillment.

I emphasized that the journey counts more than the destination, and that while we may seek counsel from time to time, we have to make our own choices and hold ourselves accountable for our actions.

I stated that this process was vital to him reaching goals, keeping his eye on the prize, and fulfilling his destiny.

I wrapped things up saying, “When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina but when I reached adulthood, I realized how impractical it was and went on to major in foreign languages. I did this because I understood how crucial communication is and how vital it is to communicate in more than one language. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were little?”

And he said, “Yep. I wanted to be a ninja.”

“Silly boy. I remember that! And now that you’re going to be a junior in college, have you thought about what you want to do?”

His response: “Mom, I still want to be a Ninja. Great! My iPod’s charged. Lets talk later.”

Apple, I hate you.

I’m convinced the communication breakdown you’ve caused has prevented the Son from reaching his milestones, and because of you, he’s still rooted in the Ninja stage.

I only hope that one day, when I acquire the Ninja skills vital to establish communication with my child, that I will use them to karate chop you to death.

This isn’t over.
Do you hear me?

Of course you don’t.

What prevents you from communicating effectively with your loved ones?


43 thoughts on “Will we have to surgically remove your iPod earbuds?

  1. Good Morning Bella –

    Have you ever experienced this out of the house with adults? Take the gym, for example. Many people workout with iPods attached to their arm or waist. It amazes me how many times I try to say something to someone, and they become annoyed that they have to turn down the volume. Sometimes they act like they don’t see my lips talking to them and ignore me, lol. I observe them while I workout and they turn-on, turn-off, numerous times in their hour workouts. Why do you think iPods are so important to people? Is is really the great joy of repetitious music or the attraction to a technology. Maybe it helps people to feel important and fit in with the majority? Your thoughts!?

    Great post Bella. You have a blessed gift at relaying messages and natural story telling in your own unique style. :)


    1. Charlie, if I’m honest, I too rely on my iPod to tune out when I don’t want to be addressed; mainly the gym (the rare times I go) or when I’m in airport, for example. I also use it to pass the time on long train or bus rides. I think they’re important to people (myself included) because they allow you to disconnect; to detach yourself, albeit temporarily, from whatever is taking place. However, that’s no excuse for rudeness. If someone is trying to talk to you, you should be able to listen to them without them having to “move their lips,” as you metioned. I’m glad you liked the post! Thank you for taking the time to write out such a detailed comment, Charlie! :)

  2. Ah, this one resonates well with me. My husband’s Blackberry or the newspaper’s business or sports sections can be interchanged (somewhat) easily with iPod. We allow no electronics or reading at the table (unless you’re alone – which is rare in our household of 5. I have occasionally snuck iTunes audiobooks onto my kids iPods before roadtrips and – lo and behold – they have ocassionally made the”Top 25 Most Played” . Despite this, I do consider them to be indispensible on family road trips? Just don’t refer to them as a ‘Walkman’ which I mistakenly have more than once :(

    1. hee hee! Walkman! That’s priceless! I can’t even tell you what kind of reaction that would get in my home! :) It’s funny you mention audio books, cause I’ve been evaluating the possibility of downloading a couple! I thought they’d be useful when I go on long walks with Roxy.

  3. LOL this post was too cute Bella. My daughter (15) is the same way. I have to wave frantically to get her attention because she has her ipod so loud she can’t hear a thing in the outside world. I hate for her to walk outside with them on. I keep thinking she’s going to get hit by a car because she zones out. But I digress. She can’t live without the thing and so I’m going to have to deal with it. She still talks to me sometimes and we watch movies together and stuff, so until she starts to act like your Son I’ll let her alone. LOL

    1. Dawn, nip it in the bud, woman! Before it’s too late! Trust me, this little monster gains strength as the minutes pass! And you’r right–more than once I’ve thought that it is a security hazard. I’m glad I’m not alone! But really, how safe can it be to wear the darn thing and not hear someone creep on on you, or the sound of a car horn, or someone screaming, “Look out!”? This truly is a valid concern!

  4. Bella, I love this post! The male heir to your debt…cilia in his ears met their demise…stuck in the Ninja stage…I’m thoroughly amused. These days I’m the one guilty of electronic preoccupation, focusing on my phone, which alerts me of new blog posts. The irony!

    1. Oh June, I may hate Apple, but between you and me, I’d kill for an iPhone! hee hee! Think of the possibilities! I go green with envy when I get emails from my nephews and nieces that state, “Sent from iPhone.” Grief. :(

  5. Amusing as always.

    Of course, as I say this, had their been access to an iPod when I was a teenager, I would have been THAT kid.

    I stole my Dad’s big fat yellow Sony walkman whenever I had the chance. I may have been blasting my mom’s Billy Joel and Elton John cassettes, but hey, I would take what I could get.

    The only reason as an adult I don’t have buds in my ears constantly is that I have to pay attention to my toddler and I can play my music as loud as I want around the house.

    But I understand the frustration. I hate trying to talk to the hubs when he is playing Texas Hold ‘Em on his phone. :)

    Oh, and, Charlie? I am one of those people that doesn’t want to talk at the gym. My nature is far from rude…but when I am working out the music is what keeps me from giving up after five minutes. And, I don’t particularly like to make conversation with strangers when I am sweaty and gross. :)

    1. Amber, I feel the same way. I like to detach when I’m working out because if not, I find that the pauses and breaks make me lose motivation. And you know how that goes, once you lose it, you ain’t getting it back! :) I had to smile at your mention of your dad’s Sony walkman! My goodness, am I your dad’s age? Cause I still have one of those tucked in a box but it’s not yellow! hee hee!

    2. You can’t possibly be my dad’s age, can you? Not that there is anything wrong with that… :)

      (Dad turns 60 next year.)

    3. Oh no, girl! Whew! What a relief! You had me going there! I’m a long way from 60. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that! But I’m just not at that fork in the road yet! :)

  6. Damn you, iPod!!!

    As always, you’re hilarious. We’re the crazy people of the neighborhood– no TV, no iPod, no Facebook. Rowena won’t know what hit her! :-)

  7. I lost my hearing virginity to the 80s, my walkman, Bon Jovi, and Journey. Mom says she could hear it in the kitchen, while was down the hall in the bathroom. I’m not sure how/when the glamour of headphones wore off (minus at the gym), but it did. Hang in there. Oh, and ask your son, “What does a Ninja get paid these days?” Just curious. LOVE the heir of debt line! hhhha!

    1. The poor little guy…no throne to inherit here! hee hee! I can’t really blame the Son, I was the same way up until I discovered that once the cilia in your ears dies, it dies. And who wants to lose their hearing? Not me! As for the Ninja pay, he seems to think he’s going to be making a six figure salary! Oh to be young and foolish! :)

  8. I am so WITH you. I hate those things! People wear them to my scrapbooking class and when you speak to them they have to take them out of their ears to hear! Here in Canada where it’s Winter 7 months of the year I get concerned about my grown up children walking along in the snow oblivious to the fact they would never hear a snow plough ploughing into them. When my daughter visits she has the plugs in and I can’t talk with her properly. Need I say more? As someone who loves to communicate I feel your pain!

    1. Oh Elizabeth, thank goodness for solidarity! And because misery loves company, I’m glad I’m not alone in this angst! :) But isn’t it annoying to not be able to communicate with these young adults? Argh!

  9. I really enjoyed this, particularly the line “lip read my ass.” It’s terribly sad that all of the “revolutionary” technology that was supposedly designed to make our lives better and easier has distanced us from each other in a way that simplicity, or even poverty, never could.

    1. Deana, you are completely and irrevocably correct! I’ve had to stand in line for Play Station 1, 2, and 3, for X Box, for Nintendo, for Game Boy, for iPod, for Facebook! What a disaster! I’m crossing my fingers the iPod will take a turn for the worse…Does that make me a bad person? :)

  10. Bella, my daughter is 6 and has no ipod but I still have to resort to snapping my fingers in her face to get her attention, just like I do with our elderly, deaf dogs. I weep for the future.

    1. hahahaha! OMG, Heidi, this had me chuckling big time! “I weep for the future!” Priceless! Don’t worry. You’re not alone! :)

  11. Bella,

    I am pretty sure this is the reason why my mom did NOT buy me the ipad she promised me for my graduation present. I kid. :) I am really glad that I don’t have that kind of trouble. The closest I came to dealing with that sort of mess was when I was teaching college freshmen. Good thing I set it straight the first day of class– I threatened to confiscate (and never return) any electronic devices that go off during my class. Can you imagine a barely 5 foot tall me telling a horde of angry, emo freshmen that? It was scary. :)

    1. Laura, I can imagine! But good for you for sticking to your guns! I feel there’s nothing more annoying in a classroom (and plenty of other places!) than the interruption of cell phones! Aw, what do you mean, you didn’t get the iPad? :( Indulge and get it for yourself! You’re worth it! :)

  12. Bella – I feel your pain. I get so upset with people on mobile phones that ring in the middle of a conversation/ a meal and they feel compelled to answer the call…as if, the others in the conversation, at the table are nowhere near as important as the caller!

    1. Corinne, isn’t that the rudest thing? And you see it happen all the time! I’m glad the Significant Other thinks the cell phone is a disturbance and the Son is not allowed anywhere near the table with a cell phone!

  13. Bella–I’m in total agreement–teens with their ipods shutting out the world can really get to you. On the other hand, I love love love Apple in general (MacBook Pro! Ipad!), so I gotta stick up for them on their other products.

    1. Jann, I’m all for Apple products! I Give me an iPhone or an iPad or a MacBook Pro!! I even have my own iPod. What irritates me is my son’s overuse of his! :)

  14. We’re so addicted to technology! When I taught computer literacy (preschool – grade 8), I found that the kids wouldn’t even look at me, they were so focused on their screens. When I asked for their attenion (“eyes up here, please”),they only raised their eyebrows and continued looking at their screens.

    1. I’m telling you, it’s like an epidemic! :) I really don’t know what we’re going to have to resort to in order to get our children’s attention!

  15. It is true that we suffer from techno addiction, the faster we move the more we want. We want it now, fast and furiously every minute of every day. We are in a way at fault – yes? I was a lackey kid (back before the term was coined) because parents both worked. Made my own mom bonkers if I didn’t call the minute I arrived home – think how easy it is that our kids have phones. As for the MP3 player… I don’t know how I would cope without music on the go. We are victims of our own needs. In our house – we have rules, no electronic injections during the dinner prep and eating hours. We have time that belongs to us. Fair? A compromise I think. Besides, it’s good to talk. Great post, Miss Bella.

    1. Brenda, hear, hear, sister! Indeed it’s good to talk! I have similar rules–no technology at the table, period. Lately the Son has been bringing the cell phone as his plus one to dinner in the attempt to manage his social networking. However, I’ve halted that behavior immediately. We have to draw the line somewhere, don’t you think?

  16. “His response? He’d learn to lip read.”

    Genius. The kid is genius. Obviously not always a good thing, but that was funny. Also, I’m not surprised he still wants to be a ninja. He will still want to be a ninja on his deathbed I’m afraid.

    1. Rhi, you’re so right! Do you know that he’s wanted to be a ninja since he was three years old? He insisted on dressing like one two Halloweens in a row and then he even dressed like one for a party in high school. I guess I’m going to have to make peace with the fact that the ninja is in his blood! hee hee! :)

  17. I’m all for earbuds on the bus, or at the gym, when personal space has to cordoned off. Or in my office, when my podcast of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” would annoy the coworkers. But at home… they are off limits. Music at home is meant to be shared. Nothing like an impromptu dance party when a particulary funky number comes up on the iTunes shuffle. :)

    1. Eden, that is brilliant! I dance with the Significant Other in the kitchen from time to time but I can’t say we’ve had an impromtu dance party! I like the idea! :)

    2. Kitchen dancing is really as close to a dance party as we get at our place too… but one can hope. And a nice shuffle between the fridge and sink makes for a lovely break during dinner prep.

    3. Eden, I totally agree! The Significant Other and I have been known to do the “Cupid Shuffle” AND the funky chicken across our kitchen floor! What fun! :)

  18. Bella,
    I love your blog! My ipod wearer is only 11, but I sense foreboding!! Communication is so important to me too, and I don’t have a problem with the little girls in my house, but the man and boy…a totally different story. I think they would easily choose headphones if given the choice. Can we create a podcast, you think? One we can secretly download onto the ipod? I think you should do it…you have some GREAT things to say!! MMF

    1. Aw Megan, thank you! I’m so glad you like it! Keep an eye on the 11 year old iPod wearer…it’s only a matter of time! :) I think we should make a podcast! One that includes the subliminal message of “Listen to your mother!” hee hee! :)

  19. As an iPhone user myself, who uses said earbuds when out walking my dog or when on the phone, I say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. You will be so hooked, not only listening to your favorite music, but there’s a whole world of free podcasts waiting to be discovered! That and set limits: no iPods at the breakfast table. Luckily, my kids were pretty much grown by the time iPods entered our cultural landscape.

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