Rant: Earbuds

I like music. I rock out (or, more accurately, country out) in my car, in my kitchen, and silently in my office cube. But when I need to focus all of my attention, I do. Seems like a simple common courtesy to me. But out on the streets of Denver—and I’m sure far beyond its borders—if a person is wearing earbuds, they are absent from the world. Like the continuing fad of texting and walking—very dangerous, I might add—listening to your jams with your focus far from the people around you can be equally problematic.

Admittedly, I used to wear earbuds on my commute, but the metro traffic and threat of accidents quickly persuaded me that I didn’t live in a small town anymore. Thus, no earbuds for me. I just wish that others would do the same.

Just this week, I was on my bike in the street and waiting for the light to turn. Just as it did, though, a, oblivious man wearing earbuds walked in front of me in the bike lane. I had a split-second choice: hit him or swerve into car traffic. I swerved. Thankfully, a car didn’t hit me. He should be just as happy that I wasn’t a car and was able to maneuver quickly out of the way. (A car always, always wins.)

I wish my story was an isolated incident, but earbuds nearly caused another 5280 editor and cyclist to get into a shouting match in Washington Park. As he biked laps—in the correct lane—he and another cyclist got caught behind an earbud-wearing rider who was nearly straddling the center lane. Law would have a cyclist pass on the left, but in an effort to spare crashing into jogging strollers and meandering families, he passed cleanly on the right. He called out their plan to pass several times, but the earbud-wearing cyclist was deaf to what was happening. He didn’t even seem aware that others were on the path, until the pair passed. Then, he had plenty to communicate as he hurled vitriol statements filled with too much screaming and cursing for us to publish here.

I like to think that he wouldn’t have launched into a screaming fit if he had heard what was going on. Then again, he—or my earbudded pedestrian—didn’t seem interested in being a part of something. Perhaps both should find some place without traffic to contemplate that. They can even wear their earbuds—then.

Rave: The grand re-opening of Berkeley Lake Park

One of the most used parks in the budding Highland neighborhood got a $3 million makeover. After more than two years of renovation, Berkeley Lake Park (Sheridan Boulevard and West 46th Avenue) is hosting its grand reopening tomorrow, September 22, from 10 a.m. to noon.

If you are a dog owner in this neighborhood, the re-opening is a huge deal. A makeshift dog park became a construction site in mid-June, which left our four-legged friends without a spot to congregate. Now, with a new fenced-in area and separate small/large dog play areas, Fidos of all sizes will have a comfortable space to run and socialize. People walking around the lake will enjoy a landscaped berm along I-70 to prevent noise and erosion. Other improvements include a new trail around the lake, varied improvements to water quality measures, fishing access, and a better fishing habitat. And all of this is smack-dab in a major metropolitan area. How lucky are we?

Bonus: The first 100 kids to come on Saturday will receive a free fishing pole to test out the water, which has been stocked with new fish.

—Image courtesy of Denver Parks and Recreation.

Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.