What If We all Did That?

I’ve written before about the people who sit on the back of busses playing music loudly on their mobile phones. I wonder what thought process these people have which makes them think that it is acceptable and normal behaviour to play their music to everyone on the bus. Do they believe that they are doing us a favour: that their musical taste is
somehow superior to ours and that by playing their music they are educating and enlightening us? But since the music played by this type of person seems to generally be generic pop music, I don’t think that they consider any such noble cause. It is more likely that these people don’t even think about the rest of us and are doing it simply because they are ignorant. It is ignorance isn’t it? I’m not getting old surely? Perhaps I’m spending too much time hanging around old incontinent people with Senile dementia. But surely not. I mean, is it even possible to spend too much time with old incontinent people with senile dementia?
Surely that’s a paradox.

There is a line that people tend to wheel out whenever someone is doing something annoying and socially agitating like this. A passenger sitting a few seats away from me is talking to the person next to her about the ignorant man playing his music, and has just come out with this line. “what if we all did that?”

This is actually quite a fun theme to explore if you’ve nothing better to do, and since you’re reading this blog then chances are that you haven’t got anything better to do. So what are we waiting for? Let’s explore this theme!

The passenger who is complaining about the man with the phone has a bottle of nail varnish open which she is applying to her nails. Presumably she thinks her behaviour is harmless, but what if everyone on the bus did that? Well, we’d all be high I suppose and perhaps we’d have a big party and our friend at the back of the bus with the musical phone would no longer be an annoyance but instead would be the party’s DJ. So perhaps it would be a good thing if we all had a bottle of nail varnish open as we travel on the bus. Plus, we’d all have great nails. But on the other hand (a figurative hand, but one which also happens to sport great nails) perhaps it would not be such a good thing because we might all throw up as a result of the fumes of the nail varnish.

So next time something annoys you and you jump straight for that cliché line, “what if we all did “?that” perhaps consider the possible positive consequences that could occur if indeed we all did decide to do that thing, and maybe you’ll actually realise that it might not be such a bad thing after all. Or, consider what activity you might be engaged in, and what possible ramifications might exist if everyone else emulated your actions. (This really is classic Thought for the Day material. Come on radio 4, what are you playing at? Commission me!)

So, what if everyone on the bus decided to play their music to the rest of the bus? Maybe this could be a new social experiment for me to conduct. I could sit one row forward from the person with the music and whisper to the person next to me to start playing music loudly on their phone, but firstly to pass the message on to the row in front. This message could then be disseminated in whispers to everyone on the bus and in time the whole bus would be filled with conflicting loud music. How would the original person playing music on his phone react? Perhaps by doing this we will make the person at the back of the bus think about what he is doing and this defiant collective act from all the passengers might mean he never does it again. Or perhaps we will all enjoy the experience so much that we’ll all go on busses in the future, play our music really loudly and try and coerce other passengers to join in.

The other thing I could perhaps do is sit at the back of the bus, wait for the song on the person’s phone to finish playing and then turn to the person playing the music and say, “well thank you for showing me that song; it has really challenged all my preconceptions of generic pop music. How about I return the favour and play you a song now? This is a lovely up-tempo number, I really hope you like it. It’s the perfect track to play loudly on a mobile phone above the roar of a bus engine in front of loads of stressed commuters on their way home from work”, and then play the person a song. What if we all decided to do that: to diligently listen to each other’s musical offering and then offer a musical suggestion of our own? Well, we would be sharing and learning from each other. Surely this would be the truest form of community radio. Wouldn’t that be a lovely bonding moment? So perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Perhaps I will try these two social experiments and video them for this blog, but feel free to attempt it yourself first and let me know how you got on and if you’ve still got all your teeth.

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