Riding the L in to work every day is an adventure. People pack into the crowded train cars, cramming themselves between the strangers around them. As the train lurches around each of its many turns, it’s a balancing act not to inadvertently touch another rider in way that would be illegal in Illinois.
Quite a few people plug in their iPod and get the tunes rolling in order to transport themselves to a happy place where Patrick the investment banker isn’t pressed up against them, me among them. The problem is that most of the earbuds people use bleed sound into the car, so you get some pretty strange remixes going on. Also, you get some unlikely people listening to certain types of music, like the little old lady next to you bobbing her head to some Kanye.
I always leave my iPod on shuffle. In a weird way I view the songs it picks every day almost like my musical horoscope. If the iPod gives me a little Don’t Stop Believin’ that ends right as I get off at my stop, the day is looking good. If it digs deep and finds one of its sad, wailing Radiohead songs I’m thinking I might just walk around the neighborhood around my office until it gives me something better. Every now and then I’m embarrassed when, as I find myself in close quarters with other commuters, my shuffle blurts out something like “Do Me” by Bell Div Devoe. Who put that in my iTunes? But even in those times I enjoy the randomness of it – even if riding the train everyday gets routine the ride is never the same. New ideas and thoughts flow as the shuffle dictates.