Walking through a crowded city with noise-canceling headphones feels just surreal. Even more, when you're listening to Tony Bennett. People rushing everywhere, insane traffic, loud conversations, and attention seeking advertisements filling every corner of your eye. Meanwhile, you are just at ease. You're the observer in the middle of the chaos keeping a certain distance. Surrounded by your own private sphere, your own retreat, that is always accessible in a loud world.
While writing this post in a cafe, I almost didn't notice a marriage proposal out of the window. Five minutes later the same square is fully crowded, this time it's a demonstration. I find myself slightly irritated. Headphones limited my attention. Or maybe I'm just not used to big city life. Headphones still on. Music still playing. This time it's a voice that shares the inner bliss of a surfer who is at peace with himself. Jack Johnson sings about banana pancakes and I notice getting hungry.
After a while, it's time to leave my cozy private space. Time to come back to the noisy cafe, the group discussions, the guests pushing chairs, the drinking straw sound of empty frappucinos. Time to dive straight into the rush hour to meet a good old friend for dinner. With the headphones back in the backpack I'm relaxed and more than ready for a good conversation in another noisy environment.