Normally, I don't think too much about that fact, since many runners listen to music as they run.
However, a few weeks back, I happened to pass a runner who had and ... unique ... music selection going. Which lead me to wonder...
Do people really understand what the music they are listening to is saying...
and furthermore, would they continue to leave a song on their running playlist
if they knew other people could hear it, too?
For those of you who know me, it won't be a big surprise to hear that I'm a 30 something Caucasian woman with a college degree in Chinese language and a huge appetite for gangsta rap and techno.
If that's not about as eclectic as you can get, well... I don't know.
And yes, it's true, I had an old coworker who used to call me Michael Bolton.
Ah, good times.
Anyhow, as you can just about guess, I have a ... fairly interesting ... new playlist I've been listening to on my iPhone for long runs.
So, the other weekend, I think nothing of the fact that I'm on mile 7 of a run listening to Gucci Mane sing about Lemonade. I was even chiming in on the chorus when I wasn't not too winded.
"Lemonade diamond bracelet, put it in your face ...
Lemonhead diamond earrings I wore yesterday ...
Ok, ok - I only had enough breath for the "BURR".
Regardless of what I could actually mange to sing as I ran that day, I do pride myself for knowing EXACTLY what is being said in a song. (Whether or not I think it's appropriate to sing about, well, that's another topic).
This ... skill, if you want to call it that ... leads me into being somewhat of a lyrical translator, especially for my husband who is constantly asking me what a song is saying and what something means. On a side note, yes, I spent a whole conversation telling him the various words for dancing sexy - IE wobble, twerk, making it clap ... oh boy, lets move on.
As I'm running, I realize that other people can likely hear my music when I pass by, but they might only catch a snippet - it's not like I've got a boom box on my shoulder. When I'm running in an outdoor environment, I usually just sling my headphones around my neck so as to hear the music and my surroundings as I go.
I justify my weird music with the fact that someone would have to be pretty much at my shoulder to hear it. Which isn't likely to happen much or for an extended period of time, so I don't really worry about what my music says.
Besides, if someone is running in an outfit like this, are you REALLY going to be surprised if the song they're listening to is a techno-beat about losing their underwear?
Back to the run at hand.
My method of listening to music while running was working quite well, since I could hear everything that was going on around me. It worked so well, in fact, that I realized as I was coming up on a late 40's / early 50's something man out for a run... that I could hear the music he was listening to, also.
And the closer I got, the more and more I'm shocked to find out ... his choice in music is even more foul than mine!!
Trying to keep a straight face, I find myself unexpectedly floored, and as I approach him I run through a bevy of questions in my head.
Does he realize that I can hear the music?
Does he understand what the music is saying?
Did he REALLY pick that music himself, or did he say... grab his kid's shuffle figuring he'd be ok for a short run out and about?
Is he one of those old "but I'm still cool" dudes?
Oh come on, you know the type:
So many questions circle in my head, and somewhere in the tornado, a thought surfaces.
I begin to think back to when I first started running on a treadmill a few years back. I was in a small gym at my then employer's building. The gym was hardly ever used, and often I would be the only one running when I got off work at 4:30.
Since I found treadmill running quite boring, I would intentionally listen to music on my iPhone and watch TV at the same time. The distraction of reading captions on CNN while someone was screaming at me to "shake my ass" made my 3 mile goal fly by.
It also made me quite oblivious to what was going on around me.
So, on one day as I was pounding away at my 3 miles, reading captions about the latest stock news, I decided to join in with Outkast and belt out a few lines...
"Roses really smell like POOO-OOO-OOO-OOO..."
And immediately, I get the feeling of hot knives in my back.
I look up to see a woman giving me a dirty look from the Pilates machine.
I didn't even know when she came in.
Fortunately for me, my 3 miles was just about up, so I sprinted what was left and got out of there as soon as possible.
And promptly removed that song from my running playlist.
And I spent the rest of my run wondering if the man I passed did the same...