I believe in magic.
Not the David Copperfield, Criss Angel (Mindf–k), David Blaine type of trickery. That’s illusion. What I’m talking about is magic. Dictionary.com defines the word “magic” as “a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, especially in a way that gives delight.”
That’s the magic I believe in.
Now, before you start thinking that I’m gonna go all mushy and gooey over the milk of human kindness or some such crap, I’m going to say this – that’s not magic. Hardly. That’s human kindness and goodness and although it’s magical, it’s nowhere near the kind of magic I’m going to talk about in this post.
The magic I experienced this week, happened in a small electronics store in Vivocity. While my wife and mother went wild, bonding over antique tiffin carriers at Tangs, I sneaked out to spend some quality time looking for a proper home theatre system for the new house.
As luck would have it, some roadshow at level 1 was drawing everyone onto the 2nd floor walkway and, fed up with jostling my way through the human sea, I ducked into the aforementioned electronics store and there It was.
I know what you’re thinking – the dude has finally gone off his rocker; they’re just headphones!!
Just headphones? Oh, how wrong you are. These weren’t just any headphones (and to get real techie on you) these were Active Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Now, I don’t know if it was the crowd or the louder-than-life host or the drumline that was going on downstairs but the moment I put on those babies, everything faded away to nothing and all that was surrounding me were the sweet strains of Liz Phair. I swear, if I closed my eyes, it was like Liz was singing just for me, right into my ear. Nothing else mattered.
That, folks, is pure magic.
Now, I’d seen (okay, heard) Active Noise Cancelling in action before. I remember I was on a train and my friend J-Boss said to me: “Les, you gotta try this shit out. It’s amazing.” Then he slipped a pair of headphones onto my ears. There was no music pumping out from them. Then he looked at me and said: “Ready? Check this out.” He put his hand on my right earpiece and the last thing I hear is a ‘pop’.
Then I went deaf.
No, it wasn’t AFI blasting out at full volume as I had suspected.
It was nothing.
I couldn’t hear the train, I couldn’t hear the guy beside me talking to his friend. Hell, I couldn’t even hear J-Boss telling me how cool it was. I could see all this happening, but I couldn’t hear it.
Needless to say, I freaked out – as we all do when faced with the magical.
That was my first brush with magic. After that, there were several more occasions – at Jay’s shop with the Airplane Wind Tunnel Experiment (a long story for too short a time) and while shopping for Sennheisers with Periwinkle.
I don’t know about you but noise is something we take for granted in today’s world. Recently in the news, there was an article about how the noise level in the world is increasing and how it’s getting harder to find quiet spots anywhere. In our little red dot of an island, that’s almost an impossibility.
That’s why when a device comes along that allows me to have The Killers give me a little private concert in my ears on a crowded rush hour train, I’d say that beats David Copperfield walking through the Great Wall of China while David Blaine levitates over his head and Criss Angel bends a set of steak knives with his mind, hands down.
Needless to say, magic doesn’t come cheap and no, there is no happy ending to this story. Want it as I did, I didn’t buy the headphones. But I think that’s a good thing. Like the definition of magic, the headphones made the listening experience “seem removed from everyday life“. If I bought this piece of magic, it would be a part of my everyday life.
What use then, is magic when you can get it anytime you like?
So I will admire the magic from afar, like all great things. And I will continue to use my cheap-ass earphones and live in the ordinary. I won’t even try to figure out how Active Noise Cancelling works. I’ll just know that it’s magic and it’s there. Like the author Tom Robbins once said:
“Logic only gives man what he needs …
… Magic gives him what he wants.”