The Headphones Guy

Short Story Day 50 of 365

A thin man, about 18, bobbed his head under the headphones he wore, oblivious to the El train passengers nearby. His patriotic red, blonde, and blue hat were being crushed by the thin adjustable strip of the headsets. His peach-fuzzed face told me he had shaved only two or three times in his life. The headphones cord flopped as Headphones Guy flopped, swayed as his head swayed. He was truly in a world of his own making.

In the front of the train car, people hung on to the upper rail and seat posts nearby. About a third of the people were reading something. It was a great exercise in balance, honed by years of daily travel. Nobody really stood out as being eccentric except the man with the headphones. Out of about eighty people on board that late afternoon, he seemed to be the only one enjoying himself. Nobody was talking as the train wobbled to its next stop.

The doors opened. Some got off to let others off. The train’s only source of entertainment – Headphones Guy – was getting off.


He still continued to sway his head as he edged in between other passengers to the door. Still he had not said one word nor was his music throbbing in his headphones so the entire train could hear. Even as he stepped out in the heat, he continued swaying.

From the time he boarded 15 minutes ago until the time he detrained and disappeared down the platform stairs, Headphones Guy never stopped swaying, never stopped moving his head and smiling.

What’s even more remarkable about Headphones Guy was the cord that came out of his headphones. It dangled freely, unencumbered and without a connection to any portable music device.

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