Retrieved from their backpack storage pocket, I discover that yet again my iPod headphone wires have woven themselves into such a ball of spirographic confusion it would give M. C. Escher pause for thought. Detangling this mess, however, always proves to be a far more enjoyable experience than actually listening to the music they transport to my ears.
Pop music is too insipid for a long journey on foot, classical music too much of a mental chore, and jazz just makes you walk funny. A good headphone wire puzzle, however, will keep any hiker entertained for hours, provided he doesn't stumble into a tree or step off a cliff.
I have walked the entire Appalachian trail deconstructing a complex bird's nest of intertwined headphone wires, perfectly content to savour the chirps of nature's own symphony while solving my knotty problem. Eat your heart out Aaron Copland.
This is why I dread the coming ubiquity of the Bluetooth headphone connection and the rest of a completely wireless, voice-activated world. What am I going to do with my hands?