My headphones died and now I have to listen to the real world

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By Vanessa Kauk

You know that horrible feeling of having to listen to every single sound with no way to tune it out? This became my sad reality. I didn’t expect my day to turn sour so quickly but it was just my luck that my beloved headphones decided they didn’t want to work and left me all alone with the unique sounds and conversations that Toronto had to offer. Having nothing to listen to during my commute or whilst strolling from class, here is a recollection of my music-less day—from heading to class and then to my photo editing responsibilities at The Eyeopener office.


Time: 7:50 a.m. 

Location: Newmarket GO Station, Platform 1

Sitting in the top deck—the silent zone—is always my go-to. To my surprise, an entire school field trip has already conquered the top deck. Despite that, I’m quick to find an empty seat. At least I have my noise-cancelling headphones to drown out these little tyrants disobeying the WRITTEN silent rule—or so I thought. I put my headphones on and played my usual loud rock music, ensuring that the outside voices won’t bleed into my listening experience.


Time: 8:25 a.m.

Location: Still on the train

My worst nightmare occurs in which the saviours defending my ears from the real world—my trusty headphones—die. I scramble through my bag for my backup headphones, unable to find them in the sea of old receipts, crusty coins and discarded doodles that litter my bag. Hope is quickly lost. Accepting my reality, I mentally prepare for the second half of my commute to be filled with the raw, unfiltered sounds of children screaming about Fortnite and obscure internet references that I won’t understand (insert sad face emoji).


Time: 8:54 a.m.

Location: Line 1, Union Station

As I waited for the subway, like clockwork a gust of wind hits my face and the shrill shriek of subway wheels grinding against the track rings so loud that even my noise-cancelling headphones probably wouldn’t mask it. Finally, I get on the subway onwards to campus. 


Time: 8:55 a.m.

Location: Line 1, King subway station 

I tried to turn on my headphones in hopes that they have found it in their good soul to have five minutes of energy. That’s all I need! They connect, I press play, they disconnect. Damn, I really thought they changed their mind. Guess my headphones are teaching me a lesson today. They’ve noticed that I’ve been enjoying my commute too much, this is a punishment, it has to be! I digress—there’s nothing that I can do at this point.


Time: 9:01 a.m. 

Location: Tim Hortons, Yonge-Dundas Square

I can’t even make up what happened on the train. 

“The house party last night got so wild that the floor caved in. OMG but she didn’t move because the beer pong game was too important!”

 Wild. The frat party last night sounded reckless and filled with disgusting details that I wish I never heard about. 


Time: 9:08 a.m.

Location: Yonge-Dundas Square theatre building 

While I was waiting for my sausage farmer’s wrap, the two towering suit-clad boys in front of me had a very interesting conversation. Apparently, the third floor is talking about rearranging management and they both want to be the boss. 

Brad: So did you hear they’re re-arranging management? 

Chad: Yeah, I’m thinking of applying for the new position. Maybe I’ll even become your boss!

*both chuckle nervously*

Brad: You know…I was, uh, also thinking of applying…

Chad: Oh… 

Only good thing to come out of today—I love drama and seeing corporate Chads and Brads at their lowest! Walking away from the Dundas building, everything hits at once and suddenly my own thoughts can’t seem to form—where is that darn creepy horror music coming from? I feel like plugging my ears with my fingers sometimes. UGH, that’s what my headphones are supposed to do!


Time: 9:10 a.m.

Location: Victoria Street

Campus is a quiet place in comparison to Yonge-Dundas Square. There are pigeons squawking and leaves crunching. The majority of people walk alone and those with friends are not too loud. It’s quite peaceful. 


Time: 11:34 a.m.

Location: Eyeopener Office Desk

I sit in the silent office after my class, fearing my travels home. Shall I contemplate going to Dollarama to buy a charger? But alas, I will have to walk past the busy street and so many people. I grab my bag and as I’m grasping for the zipper, that’s when I see it, like a spotlight—the charging cord. My eyes started watering. Is this true happiness? I stare at my headphones and slowly plug them in to see the little orange light blinking back at me. 


Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Line 1, Dundas subway station

As I write this in peace, there are no kids, no Brads, no Chads and certainly no frats—just me and Spotify. My headphones really put me through it today but now I learned my lesson: listening to Toronto sucks and I should always keep several backups because this day is not one I want to experience again.

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