There are two things in life that I am terrible at keeping a hold of. A case could be argued for there being three things, but my problems with my hair are genetic and not something I can easily do anything about. What I am really unfortunate and, frankly, awful at maintaining are shoes (as detailed in this post from March) and earphones. The drawer in my desk at home is filled with perished earphones; a tangled mess of audio uselessness and a crass memorial to my incompetence in caring for them. This week I added another wired to victim graveyard for flawed technology.
I have never been fond of the Apple earphones which come with their otherwise sound devices. My primary issue with them is that they are officially called “EarPods”, which sounds like it should be a hideous disfigurement of the ear or an exceptionally dull podcast made especially for the Otolaryngologist audience. They are also not the most attractive of things to have weaving their way from your pocket and up into your ear holes. It has the appearance of an undercooked noodle and the speakers are quite strangely shaped. Still, an unopened set of Apple earphones was a welcome discovery in my backpack when my more aesthetically pleasing black Sony pair lost sound in the right (wrong) speaker on a trip to Glasgow two weeks ago.
Things were going relatively well with my substitute listening aid — for about a day anyway. Then I began to notice that the Apple earphones were sitting very loosely in my ear holes, particularly the right (wrong) ‘Pod’, which would frequently make an attempt to jump from my ear like a nervous bungee jumper. It was a mild annoyance, but for a week I was just about able to contend with it.
By Monday the faithful adherence to the laws of gravity by my Apple earphones was beginning to bring me down. I found myself questioning the relationship between my footsteps and the insistence of the right (wrong) speaker to fall from my ear, with every ten paces seeming to jar it from that little spot where music should be flowing into, sending the oddly shaped piece flailing sadly down my torso. I tried to adjust my walking technique to a more delicate and graceful manner, but the earphone remained determinedly slack and I was only getting places several minutes later than intended.
Tuesday brought a growing paranoia as I observed a great number of pedestrians sporting these undercooked noodles upon their person without an ear pod so much as flinching. How were they wearing their earphones so perfectly and what was I doing wrong? Meanwhile my right hand was constantly rising to my ear to jam my own in as far as it could go, feeling certain that passing motorists were observing this crazed act and wondering what kind of ridiculous code I was attempting to communicate in.
I went home that night and queried Google on the correct method of inserting Apple earphones into one’s ear holes. I felt sure that I couldn’t be doing it correctly when everybody else is enjoying their music and I am suffering in this cavalcade of calamity every morning and evening on my walk to and from work. To my surprise there are actual videos on the internet guiding people like me on the precise method of wearing Apple earphones, and according to some there are a variety of ways to utilise the buds, but the online consensus seemed to be that I was doing it right. All of which made me wonder if the problem was not with my EarPods, but rather with my ears themselves. Are my ear holes the right size? What size should a normal ear hole be? Are my ear holes misshapen? I wondered if it would be total waste of a doctor’s time for me to make an appointment to get my ear holes measured; and if it wasn’t then what would a doctor even use to measure an ear hole? It surely cannot be a common question down at the surgery. [Sidebar: Would cosmetic surgery be entirely out of the question to allow me to wear Apple EarPods?]
I decided that a less drastic course of action to take would be to buy myself a new pair of proper earphones, the kind that can sit snuggly in my ears and cancel all outside noise and allow me to continue to ignore the rest of the world as I walk to the places I need to go. Of course, come my midweek shop I forgot that I had made this resolution (I also neglected to buy oranges and nuts, but that didn’t trouble me so much) and I was to be trapped in the tyranny of a restless earphone for the remainder of the week. Not only that, but by the end of the week a series of typically summer rain falls had ensured that water had weasled its way into the unprotected right bud and dulled any sound I wasn’t hearing to begin with to a whisper that I still couldn’t hear because my earphones were dangling by my hips.
This morning I finally discarded the Apple earphones to the desk drawer where they can no longer haunt me. I can hear the melancholic sounds of my music again, when even turned up to full volume it is a delicate and sad party in my ears. But at least they are in my ears and I can hear it.