Personal stereos including tape players, mp3 players and ipods are frequented in and out of cities and change the way we relate to our surroundings. In most cities you can’t leave your house without spying a couple of these things in peoples heads. The article “Sounding out the City” characterizes types of use, which I appreciate because the author acknowledges that users can flow freely between different types of use. I find myself in the between categories. In middle school I remember getting a cd player “Walkman” for my birthday. The process of collecting cds and comparing how many I had to how many my friends had. I never had very many because my family couldn’t afford them. I could identify with the users in the article who had a hard time choosing the cd for the day because it is impossible to predict how I will feel and in what way I might want to manipulate my mood with music.

Then came the wonderful and horrible mp3 player and ipod. These machines let people carry thousands of songs and create play lists to personalize their musical sound track to an even higher degree then tapes and cds alone. I love the fact that there are so many songs on the tip of my finger. Sometimes I can choose without hesitation and sometimes the overwhelming options cause me to un plug it all together and listen to whats around me. I find it interesting that some users find it “distressing” to be outside without a personal stereo. I go through phases, when I first bought my refurbished ipod i used it as much as possible. The newness and unique choices it offered me were irresistible at first. After a few months the decline set in and I slowed the use to a stop. Then started again sporadically. So my usage is irregular to say the least. Last semester my ipod rest dead on my desk. I got used to not having it in the pockets of my ears, and hearing my own breath and footsteps.  I did get another one before I left on this trip to the other side of the world. I haven’t wanted to use it really for fear of missing something, some little irreplaceable moment in time and this new place. I didn’t want to “remain static within the flow of time and place”.

In someways personal stereo use is isolating, acting as a barrier between you and the world, a distraction from all of the moments unfolding and the constantly re-creating reality of social interaction. In other ways it can glorifyand as some claim in the article accentuateor enhance reality. This is true sometimes, I love music and if a song is really sad I might cry from listening to it even in public. When I’m depressed and want to stay in that sadness music can help me to be there, no matter where I go I can bring past feelings and or memories with me. When I feel satisfied by the emotional saturation, I can let it go by changing songs and thus mindset. This example to me typifies this sense of control the user has, at times seductive and at others disturbing. I think it’s very strange that we go through these very personal rainbows of emotional settings in such public places like the bus or train. In our culture of industrialized areas, the only places I’ve lived and can speak for, people are normally taught to act dully and quiet. Not to bother others and to keep every feeling to ones self. Which in effect ‘ Personal’ stereo use does allow for, but the outwards effect it produces are sometimes notable by others. The way the emotional happeningsalter our external composition. Specifically the “non-reciprocal gaze” listeners can be in an environment and stare at people or things but not feel engaged in the slightest. I’ve never heard this spoken about before reading thisarticle but I have noticed it in myself and others under the spell of personal stereos. Personal stereos can create feelings of closeness and distance to other simultaneously.  Colonizers of space, personal stereos give the user control over mood and perceived “psychological distance” by way of gaze and sound from others while also enhancing and momunmentalizing moments and memories. I feel like the psychological distance is your thoughts not exsisting in the present, mentally you are somewhere else, in the future, past or imagination.

Their capacity for interpretationis largely untouched I feel because of the recent advent of the mp3 player and ipod. This article seemed was written with statemenrs provided from mostly British people in industrialized areas. I think these “embarrissing” moments that personal stereos help some people avoid are unavoidable in India. Personal stereos aren’t at all prevailent in the areas I’ve seen thus far, even in industrialized places. The things that I feel are akward are a staple of the experience, and I feel I would miss alot by plugging into my personal stereo here.