Being Tossed To and Fro -- A Little Reflection on the Search for Earphones

I’ve been trying to catch up on the hype surrounding the Airpods Pro this week. The product itself is fascinating, but as I watched the umpteenth video review this week, I realised that there was something deeper at work inside me.

See, I’ve had this pair of Jaybird X3 earphones for nearly two years now, and they work perfectly fine. I would even say that I like them quite a bit – the seal is good, they are good for running (generally), there isn’t a solid carrying case to lug about, and the battery life is nice. They are good earphones. Yet, I found myself lusting after alternatives a few months ago, when I just asked myself, “What if I got noise cancelling headphones?”

I thought to myself, one fine day, “I’m transitioning jobs next year and that might mean a different office environment. And I’ll also be taking the bus a lot more.” Building on these two speculations, I began to picture a life where I would use noise cancelling headphones daily. So I started to look around, and the Sony WH-1000XM3 seemed to fit the bill. Then I thought, what about earphones? I’d hate to lug around such a big thing every day (plus I feared that I would look very dorky with those cans on my head).

With that, I found myself spiralling down the rabbit hole of “truly wireless” earphones – Jabras, Jaybirds, Buds (of all shapes and sizes), and, of course, the Sony WF-1000XM3. But the reigning champion, the undoubted king of cool, the AirPods loomed in my consciousness like the light at the end of the hallway, the bright light of redemption, the blissful white of peace. I couldn’t shake the thought. The AirPods had wormed their (its?) way into my mind and lodged itself securely there. More securely, perhaps, than a real pair would have managed in my ears.

Then, the AirPods Pro. Finally, maybe, this was the solution. And that’s where I’ve been stuck at for the past week, reading reviews, watching videos, tossing and turning, shifting with every breeze. I’d love to have a pair, really, I would. But I’d love to have a pair of many other earphones too. And maybe just one over-ear, just for comparison. And maybe each upgrade, each colour, for the seasons, for each outfit.

And therein lies the problem. Not with the products, which are great. But with myself, the insatiable beast that roars, my greed, my belly, the god I worship in truth if not in name. My imagination runs wild, tossed into a frenzy by the scent of fresh prey. To give in right now, at this moment, would be to lose my soul.

But that’s just me. So, I’m here, enjoying my Jaybirds, trying to build a new imagination, a vision that fits with the world, that doesn’t run along with marketing and hype. Maybe one day I’ll get some AirPods (indeed, I hope that I will try them some day). But today is not the day.