One of the first things that I (and many other newcomers) notice about mornings in Jakarta, is how a lot of people—men and women, students and office workers—commute while wearing earphones connected to media player, phones, or even tablets. I guess it’s just a way to cope with the hustle and bustle that they go through each day…

And ever since I had an MP3 player (and later on, phones that could store and play MP3 files) I adopted the habit of walking (and riding) to and from the office with a soundtrack accompanying my steps. Speaking of soundtracks, I have a lot of movie OSTs on my regular playlist. Beyond that, my tastes are pretty diverse, but usually revolve around RnB and a bit of jazz.

However, I somehow can’t really enjoy music while working. Quite a few of my colleagues have copied their music collections to their work PCs and brought in an extra set of earphones so that they can listen to music while typing and browsing. (Thankfully, none have set up speakers like in some of the places I used to work for.)

As for me, I’ve always felt that not only does the music distract me from work, but the work distracts me from the music. It’s not that I need to follow the lyrics all the time (some of my favorite pieces are purely instrumental), it’s just that I always felt that to properly enjoy any kind of music, I need to fully immerse myself into the rhythm and melody of it. Listening with half an ear while working on a report just seems like such a waste…

And that’s why I spend about half an hour or so each day, sometimes twice a day, with my earphones plugged in, eyes closed, and a smile on my face…

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