A couple of weeks ago, I was doing an extended ride on a stationary bike at my gym. As I rode my bike, I let my mind wander and several tasks I needed to complete started to flood my mind. As I instinctually reached for my phone, I stopped myself. Would this be a good time to use Siri instead? My AirPods were in, and I could issue a "Hey Siri" command and add everything in my head to my Todoist app through Siri. I wouldn't have to fumble my phone or try to bike without using my hands; I could genuinely multi-task. As soon as I had the thought, I realized I could barely hear my podcast over the loud music and Stairmasters. A quick look around and a guy was cycling to my left and a woman cycling to my right. Was I going to ask Siri to add "Get lamb from the farmers market to Todoist" out loud? What if it didn't do it correctly (It often didn't)? What if I had to repeat myself? I try it, and Siri added it to Apple's Todo app rather than my todo list app Todoist. I picked up my phone and deleted the Todo, opened Todoist, and added the task.
Later that day, I was sitting at my desk with my Bose noise canceling headphones on. I work in an open office, and there are people on all sides of me. My desk is also at the end of a run, and people walk by all day. People stop by to ask me how I'm doing, following up on stuff I committed to or just wanting to chat. No one notices my headphones, and there is no way for me to indicate I don't want to be bothered. There are a few scattered around the office for quiet time or to take a phone call, but there aren't nearly enough of them.
I had two pairs of noise-canceling headphones for a long time (The crappy Sony ones broke; one pair at work and the other at home and for travel. Canceling the noise around me is the only thing that makes it bearable to work in an open office. Noise canceling headphones are the only way I can hear on an airplane or drown out the many conversations I hear in an airport. It's one of the luxuries I've indulged in since my senior year of college when I got a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 15. When I first moved to Utah, I'd bike home late at night after a day of classes, and the silence of the streets would scare me. I wanted that space filled with ambulance sirens, buses rolling by and the soundscape familiar to the New York native. Now the vinyl cups of my headphones cover my ears for hours a day as I try to find a space for deep thought.
I went to the car wash late at night and did a thorough cleaning of my car interior. I was the only person at the carwash, and while the vacuums made some noise, it was eerily silent otherwise. I used Siri to add some tasks that came to mind while I was cleaning. I didn't worry about being interrupted; I let my mind wander as I tried to get the interior of my car looking new again. I might have to clean my car more often.