Dear Urban Diplomat: is it just me, or is the iPod destroying community connection?

Dear Urban Diplomat: is it just me, or is the iPod destroying community connection?

Dear Urban Diplomat
(Image: Jonathan Powell) 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve gotten used to young people listening to their iPods in public, but now I’m seeing people my age (60) plugged in at the grocery store, coffee shop, park and elsewhere. These used to be social places. I want to yank their earbuds out and give their heads a shake. Am I alone in feeling, well, isolated?
—Nirvana Unplugged, RIVERDALE

Are we talking about the same city? Toronto has always been a politely aloof place. We barely make eye contact on the subway, let alone engage in meaningful, community-building dialogue in the produce section. The proliferation of the iPod simply lets us listen to CBC while ignoring each other in public. Sure, when it comes time to pay the cashier or order food, the earphones should be tossed over the shoulder, but there’s little harm in getting your As It Happens on in public, provided the volume is kept low enough to let in an “Excuse me” or a “Hey dude, you dropped your wallet.”

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com