Trains are loud.
If you want to listen to music on your iPod or watch a movie on your PSP without going deaf and bothering the other passengers you need in-ear headphones like my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studios. Many commuters use Shure E2Cs. The Shures were my first in-ear set so I know when properly shoved into your ear canal they provided improved isolation and sound over the iPod’s earbuds.
Every morning and evening ride from the suburbs to downtown Chicago and back I spy fellow commuters with their in-ears inserted in the wrong ear and upside down. Switching the Shures makes the driver body point away from your head. This makes me crazy because your flipping L and R channels (ruining a sound engineers weeks of hard work to place guitar on the right, bass on the left, singer front and center and drums in back), you lose isolation and therefore sound quality and it looks like a sad dog’s limp ears. The Shures gracefully twist into your ear canal and the driver rests snugly in the concave dent behind the canal hole.
It’s easy. Go read the instructions. Print them out and consult them whenever you leave the house with your iPod and in-ear headphones.
The backwards earphones bug me so much I want to tug them out of my fellow commuters’ ears and shove them back in correctly. Please save your mace for a real attacker, I’m just improving your commute.