An earplug habit allows a weird sort of synesthesia, where auditory experiences are reconfigured into other, subtler inputs. I can hear the train coming by way of a rumble underfoot. A crying baby is distilled to a certain contortion of tiny features. I’ll concede that there is something voyeuristic, and maybe a bit sociopathic, about watching the world as if through glass. But in a way, this is comforting. As the frenzies of modern life multiply by the day, so do the reactionary complaints, and the urge to join the chorus. Equipped with a set of tiny foam plugs, I go quietly and bravely into the chaos of the future, ready to tune it all out.
Jamie Lauren Keiles, “Mack’s Earplugs”, The New York Times Magazine (18 October 2015), 27.