The Calm Earphones Boy

Once, there was a college student who liked listening to music. He often had earphones attached to his ears, earphones that were jacked into a portable music player that was hidden in his pocket whenever he was listening to music. He often had his earphones on, but takes them off whenever something requires his full attention, such as listening to lectures, or crossing the road.

One summer day, the city where his university was had a power outage, so the classrooms had to have their doors and windows open for ventilation. Most people were complaining about the summer heat, but some people, like the earphones boy, just tolerated the heat and focused on more important things.

During that summer day, the earphones boy was sitting inside a classroom, waiting with his classmates for their history professor to come. Thirty minutes had already passed since the beginning of the class period, and for an unknown reason, their professor still didn’t arrive. Like most classrooms that had no teacher to handle them, most of the students in the classroom eventually ended up chatting with each other. Normally, it would be tolerable, but…

…One of their history professor’s former teachers, a learned old man with low tolerance to noise, went to the classroom, wearing an irritated look on his face. This was the second time this professor got irritated by their noise.

“I’d be thankful if the power was back on, because I hate it when the doors and windows are open,” the irritated professor said. “Do you know why?”

Silence was the students’ response, as they wouldn’t speak when an angry teacher was ranting in front of them. Despite that, the professor answered his own question.

“It is because I can hear your chattering noise from my classroom, which is next to this room!” the professor shouted. “It has already been thirty minutes, and your professor hasn’t arrived yet, so you should just get out of this classroom already! Impolite miscreants! You’re not high school students anymore!”

And the irritated professor marched out of the classroom and returned to the class that he was handling.

As usual, most of the class whispered about the grumpy professor.

“He just marches in and screams at us? He doesn’t have the right to do that!”

“His apprentice hasn’t arrived yet, so why should he blame us?”

“He thinks he’s so high and mighty, huh?”

There were also some people who just kept quiet and didn’t let themselves feel angry at the irritated professor. One of them was the earphones boy. While the irritated professor was ranting, the earphones boy took off one earphone to listen to what the professor was saying. After the professor finished ranting, the earphones boy put back the earphone again to finish listening to the song that he was listening to.

“Command: Shut up. Simple as that,” the earphones boy calmly thought after the irritated professor went out of the room. “No need to feel so angry at the old man. Each and every one of us has different levels of tolerance. And there’s no need for me to care about some of my classmates’ comments, because those are their opinions, not mine. Good thing I have my music to divert my attention to after that. Just receive the message, and filter out the angry comments.”

A few minutes later, everyone else started standing up and left the classroom. The earphones boy then put his earphones and music player into his bag. Then, he calmly went out of the classroom.

“Well, looks like I’ll have to do some homework while I wait for my next class,” the boy thought to himself as he walked.

And so, the earphones boy calmly went on with his day, focusing on the more important stuff.

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