Is there anything quite as embarrassing as showing up for a first date where the guy is wearing the exact same outfit as you?
Today I decided to go by the Apple store to pick out a new pair of headphones. I was a little peeved on my way over to tell you the truth, because I have gone through 3 pairs in the past 18 months. They always seem to break in some way, seemingly related to my using them at the gym. The cable cracks, or my sweat gets inside the microphone and causes the buttons to stop working properly or just fizzle out. And although there are several nice pairs out there that don’t have a control/mic on them, I prefer the ones that do so that I can use them with my iPhone. I was determined to find something more rugged. As I arrived at the headphone area of the store one of the (seeming hundreds of) Apple employees approached me with a smile and asked if he could help me. I motioned to my ears and looking him directly in the face told him that I needed new headphones with a microphone for my iPhone. He led me over to the Apple-branded headphones and I went off on a small tirade about how I had previously purchased them, and how they were crap, breaking after a few months. As I glanced at a number of the products hanging there, I emphatically stated how important it was to have a rugged pair that I could work out in. I must have gone on for a good minute as I was looking at the headphones, when I felt him tap me on the shoulder and apologize, telling me he was deaf and could I please look at him while I spoke. I was mortified, I hadn’t realized. But now that I was paying attention, his speech was in fact a bit muffled in that particular way, like the few deaf people I have had interactions with. I apologized profusely, and then overcompensated the rest of the time by over-mouthing every word that issued from me. While I was still basking in the shame of my self-absorption, he led me over to a pair of headphones he said were really great, and I had to stop myself from asking if he had used them. He took them out of the case and at least I could verify that the cabling seemed rugged. He told me that the sound was very high quality and as we were examining them, a colleague of his came over to tell me that these were really great and did I need any other assistance. A little too loudly (it seemed to me) I told the other guy that “NO, I AM IN GREAT HANDS HERE, THANKS” and sent him on his way. My Jewish guilt was really setting in and the guy asked me if I needed to see any other pairs and I just responded that if he thought these were the best that was good enough for me and I handed him my credit card.
And that, friends, is how I bought stereo headphones from a nice deaf man.
EPILOGUE: I have been listening to the headphones for the past hour or so, and I have to say they are quite good sound.
EPILOGUE II: The buttons stopped working in less than 24 hours and I returned them.