It is scandalous that one of the pressing issues of our time has not received an ounce of attention in presidential politics and that is the issue of whether or not to listen to music while running. There is a raging national debate on this topic, and by raging I mean an article in Runner’s World just over a year ago with the clever title, “Should You Listen to Music While Running?” It is possible you may have missed it.
There is the Purist camp that says to leave the music at home when you hit the road, arguing (a) safety, i.e., that Death Cab for Cutie should not become an appropriate title for the final chapter in your posthumously-written biography; and (b) that it is better to listen to your heart (h/t Roxette) than your tunes.
I am a Purist.
Then, there is the Overwhelming Majority camp that thinks we Purists are silly. The countervailing argument is motivation, both music-spurs-me-on motivation, and what-person-in-their-right-mind-runs-and-music-is-the-only-way-I-can-do-this motivation. These are obvious and compelling arguments.
I am obviously not compelled.
My Purist rationale goes beyond safety and becoming one with your body, but it is not that I am an Originalist, claiming that if God had wanted us to listen to music when we run that we would have been born with wires hanging out of our ears. Instead, I dream of a world where we at least occasionally say hello. Our mobile phones are terrible enough. I simply wish that at least we runners would look up and notice each other.
Once, I was running in Santa Monica and met a young woman rounding the corner running in the opposite direction. She had on an Arkansas Razorbacks t-shirt, my alma mater, which brought a huge smile to my face and an instinctive cheer of Go Hogs! So, first off, without context, this is a rather offensive thing to shout at a young female early on a Saturday morning. Further, since she was not a Purist, all she knew was that a tall/pale/skinny/bald/excited/middle-aged man raised his fist and shouted at her. My recollection is that her reaction resembled a terrified deer leaping over a fence.
I felt sort of terrible but concluded that if God wanted her to listen to music while she ran that she would have been born with wires hanging out of her ears.
I am pretty sure that we don’t look up and notice the stars enough. I am also pretty sure that we don’t reach down and touch the actual earth enough. But I know that more and more we are looking at or listening to a device instead of a fellow human being, and I think that is terrible.
Maybe the title of this blog is prophetic and we really will start to look up.