Apparently people in NY don't have the ability to differentiate between the happy little world in their ears, and, um, the perilous world of cars and buses and real life around them.
I just read this NY Times article about proposed legislation in NY that would outlaw listening to an iPod while crossing the street. Because it turns out too many people are not paying attention and just stepping into traffic. So they propose a $100 fine.
I also saw the story on the BBC site, and here's my favorite quote from it. "The senator said forcing pedestrians to face court and pay the fine would make them realise the "potentially deadly dangers that lurk outside the 'deceptive serenity' of your iPod"."
Honestly. I have a 25-minute walk to work. I cross a lot of streets. And I love my iPod shuffle more than might be reasonable. I love the "deceptive serenity" it provides, accompanying me through the city during rush hour.
I walk through Dupont twice a day during the week. And despite the music, I pay attention. Because do you know how many angry, confused drivers are trying to figure out which lane to be in getting around that damn circle? And then if they've figured that out, how many of them are still not sure which light is for them? And do you know how many run those lights, I think out of pure frustration?
It's true, I have been accused of bopping down the sidewalk obliviously, but I do look out for cars. And taxis - my God, they'll take you out in a second.
Maybe I'm not the world's best street crosser, but I manage.
Left, right, left is just not that hard.