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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

Stop being a zombie

Tuesday night, I was biking back to Holy Cross from North Dining Hall when I recognized his red hair.

“Hi Evan!” I yelled to The Observer’s Managing Editor, Evan McKenna.

He didn’t seem to hear me, so I slowed down while passing him. I was now right in front of him. He was looking right at me while walking. “Evan! Hi!” I yelled again, but his dead gaze went straight through me.

Now, I had to turn around on my bike. “Evan! Evan!” I kept yelling.

Then I saw the AirPods in his ear. I don’t know what Taylor Swift song he was blasting, but I probably could’ve related to it, considering how heartbroken I was. Crushed, I turned around again and biked back to Holy Cross, knowing I looked like an idiot to the nearby walkers.

A preventable problem

This year, I’ve had a few embarrassing “hi” stories. Once, I yelled “Hi Adri!” at the top of my lungs in South Dining Hall to The Observer’s Editor-in-Chief, Adriana Perez, who didn’t notice me. Another time, I said “Hi Claire” to a confused News Writer Claire Reid before we had formally met.

But this one stung the worst, because it was preventable.

Had Evan not been wearing AirPods, we would’ve probably had a friendly, fruitful conversation. I would’ve thanked him for the stylish Observer sticker he gifted me. He would’ve complimented my recent Instagram story roasting Adri after she claimed South Bend’s permacloud is a myth (I need a whole other column for that one).

We both would have walked away happier. Instead, I was sadder for having been ignored and Evan was sadder from whatever nonsense Taylor Swift was singing into his ears (a whole other column for that one, too).

Evan, unfortunately, is not the only perpetrator of this problem, he’s just the best example to use (he told me I would be fired if I slandered him in this Inside Column, but his term ends in just four weeks; I have nothing to lose).

Every day on campus, zombies roam, ignoring everything except T-Swizzle. Students often don’t even say “hi” to friends. Saying “hi” isn’t worth the embarrassment, and for good reason. Personally, I don’t think I’ll ever say “hi” to Evan again.

The solution

There is only one solution to this catastrophe: We must ban the use of AirPods while walking on campus, with offenders attending five random Moreau First Year Experience classes as punishment.

Students will benefit immediately. Classmates will become friends, connections will become bonds and nice bosses will become nicer bosses.

One may think that my proposal is senseless. The University would surely never carry out this measure. And maybe, that argument is right. But to change this problem is in fact easier than any other issue the University faces.

We can use peer-pressure for good here. Roasting friends serves a good cause here. I would bet Evan, after this exposé, will only wear his AirPods while sitting down and studying or in his apartment. We don’t need a University ban when all it takes is an unwritten social ban.

Notre Dame strives to build a community of life-giving people, but noise-canceling AirPods are turning us into walking robots. There’s no community in that.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.