Laure Mandiamy

My white apple earbuds sit on my nightstand, tangled for the hundredth time this week, this break. I do not remember the last time I used my headphones this much. But then again, I am an introverted person. They have clumps of dirt and scratches that I never noticed before. But then again, I do use them a lot. Why do I use them a lot? What better way to become desensitized to a global pandemic than wired headphones.

I distract myself with hours on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and whatever other social media I can get my hands on. I faintly hear “Here is Gov Cuomo with the latest on COVID-19…” and I raise the volume on my earphones. I can not hear the number of new cases in New York City today. But I know I do not want to. All I know is we are still the city with the highest number of cases. Though I know I do not want to remember that. 

I keep my white overly used apple headphones plugged into my ears because I know my mind can not be left alone in such silence. My mind whirs around exploring hopeful futures for the world, but it does not stay there. I whirl into negative thoughts and wonder once more if I’m being too hopeful or too negative. Again I tell myself that I can not be alone with my thoughts. My hand reaches for the white crumple on my nightstand.

After weeks, I notice this. I have not gone a day without my headphones. But when I do, I mindlessly listen to the rising number of cases we have. It is nothing new and I tell myself that because I have heard this too many times. Do the numbers of deaths remain as pointless numbers? Yes. But the music that fills my head, diverts my mind from this grim reality. 

The reality of our generation is the numbness we have felt in our days because of the helpless position society has plunged us in. They say we are too young to have any opinions about the community we live in. But we are too old to not care. Stuck in this grey area where our generation feels we need to do something but can’t. So we are left taking in and having to deal with the idleness of the other generations. We are used to mass school shootings because of the lack of gun restrictions. We are used to the extreme weather caused by climate change. We know we should not be numb to such radical occurrences yet we still are.

I think about it more and I realize I do not want to be trapped in the bubble that my headphones helped to create. What is wrong with being left with my mind? I have my phone now, but I am stuck with my thoughts forever. It has taken me awhile to realize that it is normal to expect so much yet so little in the world in times when you feel like you have no control. In an effort to become fully present in this unpredictable world as I tune into CNN or face the pages of the New York Times, I begin to remind myself of a few words. Take a minute, take everything in, feel what you need to feel. Do not let statistics remain meaningless numbers because of the weight those digits might hold. Whatever those digits might mean. With my wired overly used Apple earbuds, I listen to the music of my thoughts. I let the music take over.