Runner’s High

There is a duality that goes with getting exercise accessories for Christmas. On the one hand – neato, accessory! On the other – ah man I gotta work out to use this. For Christmas I received the JLAB sport earbuds and it was this accessory that quelled my sad cries while dressing to run.

Running in the winter is sort of like dressing up like a tank for Halloween. I put on my sweats and my unfortunately matching vest. The vest is a necessity for warmth and for holding my phone through which I listen to my groovy tunes that help me chug along and stifle the sounds of my own implorations for a quicker death. Today I put the earbuds in and am immediately informed by a woman’s voice that my earbuds are waiting to be synched.

I set on my Bluetooth and the woman informs me that the earbuds have synched. The woman’s voice is digital but alluring in a way that brings back oddly stirring memories of the Jetson’s maid. I put on my Spotify playlist and begin my run.

It’s amazing to me the possibilities that technology has wrought upon on. When I started teaching, I would carry a pile of papers into class and a CD player for listening activities. Now, everything I need for class fits on a flash drive the size of my thumbnail. My phone is a bankcard, a camera, an information portal, and a place to put my drink.

While I am running, the earbuds make every song so clear that I can hear the musicians’ heroin dealers show up to the studio. I chug along slowly, urged along by Bob Dylan and Otis Redding. Despite the fact that I am running and trying not to die, I am as relaxed as I can be. But then I scratch my ear.

My finger inadvertently touches the earbud’s flat surface, causing a chain reaction that goes nowhere good fast. The Jetson’s maid says “touch again to synch with Google.” I do not touch the earbud again, but a moment later I try to adjust the earbud and hear a loud beep. I say “dammit” and hear my word instantly mirrored by the maid. “Dammit” brings up no search results. The music stops.

I then make the mistake of trying to appeal to logic. I decide that if I touch the other earbud it might rectify the situation and the maid will stop searching for my spoken words and my music will come back on. I am – what’s the term – the fucking wrongest I have ever been in my life. I touch the other earbud and that oddly alluring mechanical voice says (esoterically): “movie.”

“Movie?” I say aloud. “What does that mean?”

I touch it again and she says “Music.”

The music starts again and I breathe a sigh of relief.

“OK,” I say. “Geez.” I am relieved to have my music back. After ten seconds, however, the music stops and goes to another song. Ten seconds later it stops that song and goes onto another song. Ten seconds after that, the same thing happens and my Fitbit beeps worriedly as my heartrate skyrockets into the stratosphere.

Technology is supposed to improve our lives. The earbuds are supposed to make my sporty life as blissful as an experience can be when it involves high volumes of sweat, crying, and sometimes blood and also is not sex. I wanted to be carried away on a gondola of exercise and Otis Redding. But no. I am apoplectic and the other runners are starting to look at me as my self-discourse degrades into a multilingual vulgarity festival. And even though I am the only person taking part in this festival, I am somehow losing.

Halfway through the woods, I try one last ditch effort to save my running session. It can’t get any worse, can it? I pick an arbitrary number (four) and I press the back of the right earbud. One. Two. Three. Four. The e-maid says “awareness mode” and I am then afforded the sound of myself running. I can hear my feet hitting the ground and I can hear myself panting from inside, so it’s as if I am running directly next to myself and also sitting in my own lungs. This, in case you were wondering, is how it could get worse. The moral of the story is, technology sucks. And if you were in the park on Friday and heard a strange man shout “fuck” at the top of his lungs, it wasn’t me.  

  1. No comments yet.
(will not be published)