External Bluetooth Speakers: The Bane of Modern Existence

When you think that everyone else wants to listen to what you want to listen to

Okay, get ready for a rant…

(I turn 41 this week and I must be getting curmudgeonly.)

So there’s this lake nearby that we’ve been hiking to since moving back out west. It’s called Sardine Lake. There’s an upper and a lower lake. They’re both absolutely gorgeous.

The lower lake is just for fishing. You can drive right to that one. The upper one is about a .7 mile (for a rough estimate) hike up a rocky trail. You can swim in that one. It’s excluded and it takes work to get to it.

Sardine Lake(s) is the epitome of a wild Sierra lake. Upper Sardine is especially stunning because the Sierra Buttes loom large over it and reach right down into its waters. Here’s a photo I took…

As I write this, we’re of course in a pandemic. Everyone in California who once worked in an office (a shit-ton of people) has been either laid off or moved to remote work. This means that they’re now all playing in the Sierras. The exodus from the cities has officially begun (we’re in this group — but from a city across the country). So, these tiny lakes are now way more jam-packed than they normally are.

We hiked up to Upper Sardine last week. It was a weekday. Super hot. We roughed it up the trail and found a great spot on a big rock right on the water, put our bags down, and jumped in (there’s nothing like jumping in a cool mountain lake after a long, hot hike). We got out and sat on the rock to dry off and relax. It’s bliss. Silence. Reinvigorated by mother nature’s cool waters. A big breath of fresh Sierra Nevada air. The warm prehistoric rock supporting my back as I lay under the sun’s warming rays. And that’s when it happened…

Some dude just across the water from us starts blaring his music on his external speaker. And this wasn’t a teenager. This was a grown-ass man.

He starts with house music and then moves on to some nondescript rap music.


I like house music and rap music. But for me, there’s a time and place. Maybe when I’m driving. Or working out. Or mowing the lawn.

Not when I’m sitting on the edge of one of the most beautiful, excluded, and pristine lakes I’ve ever beheld.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. It used to happen a lot on the trains and busses in Chicago. It’s happened in parks, in gyms, and on hikes.

But here?!

When I was younger, we had the famed Walkman and Discman. Both required headphones. The only external speaker devices we had were boomboxes. And those took stamina (and a lot of batteries) to lug around.

But these external Bluetooth speakers are too easy. They’re rechargeable. Light. They easily attach to backpacks, bikes, etc.

What makes certain people think that EVERYONE wants to listen to their music? There’s this great invention called — what’s it called again? Oh, yeah… EARBUDS!

I mean, what is the big aversion to silence that some people have? It’s like they can’t stand to be with themselves. As soon as they’re in a quiet space, they have to drown out their inner chatter by whatever means they can. Even if that means subjecting the surrounding populace to their noise therapy.

Okay, there’s my rant. It’s a good thing that I have a low anthropology these days.

External Bluetooth speakers are my case in point:)