The ipod, elegantly combining as it does my two greatest anxiety-inducers, those being waste and decisions, has been not unlike my superannuation. I know it’s there, shoved in the bottom of the wardrobe, but if I keep my eyes just so, even when I’m pulling my purple shoes out from the back for their once-a-year blistering whirl, I can pretend that it doesn’t exist.
Head in sand. Wah wah wah.
The mister and I bought mp3 players for each other one Christmas long enough ago that 30GB seemed like an enormous amount of space, so enormous that it could never be used. He bought me a beautiful purple sony walkman knowing that I love gadgets but don’t want to get sucked in by brands, and I bought him an ipod, knowing that I shouldn’t get sucked in by brands, but my goodness what a beautiful creature the ipod is.
Back in the day, such devices came with not-simple software, all that transferring the CD onto the computer, importing it into your library, accidentally wiping your device, but heck, we were thirtysomethings, technology was our friend.
Only it wasn’t. And even in the post-Christmas haze, it all seemed so hard. If I took my music off my computer, then would it wipe it from the device next time I synced? Howcome that goldfrapp album shows up in my library but not on my device? etcetera etcetera etceteraaagghhhh
And then there’s podcasting. It’s a waste not to be listening to podcasts, but how? I mean I can’t get it from juice into my library. And I could never get the hang of playlists, so that whenever I wanted to shuffle I would go from Jeff Buckley to Chopin to a Sunday profile intro by Monica Attard first broadcast in 2006.
Perhaps if our computer had been a little stronger, faster, had a bit more grunt. But trying to get my head around the whole thing mostly just involved hours of sitting at the computer getting nowhere.
Then, last Christmas I really wanted to give youngest boy (which meant eldest had to have one too) an mp3 player, because he loves music and recorded stories so much and spends hours listening. It seemed to me that as we were moving into a more inside life, and a fairly small inside at that, he would really get a lot out of it.
So off I went to the shop to find two smallish, cheapish mp3 players, one in red and the other in blue. I didn’t buy them ipods, because – and I know there is no real logic in this, but this is how it goes – I am trying to train them to not get sucked into brands and other types of consumerism.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that in the few short years since the mister and I first exchanged mp3 players (it was an accident, by the way) the software has got simpler.
Drag and drop.
Beautiful words. Plus I now have an external hard drive, so I could keep all the music on there. It would be fine.
There was a bit of stress when I realised that the smallish, cheapish devices we’d settled on didn’t have docking stations, but they can still go through the stereo so that’s fine. (By the way, how has it happened, mp3 manufacturers, that the jacks of all headsets fit into all mp3 players, and therefore all mp3 players can be hooked into all stereos with just the one cord? How did you let this piece of salvation for consumers get through your design process?)
But then, the nagging from the unused ipod and walkman started getting stronger. I’m in yr cupboard not being used. Not quite waking me up at night, but niggling away nonetheless.
I used the walkman a bit, but never put anything new on it anymore, having given up trying to conquer the software, but the ipod remained largely unused.
Nagging, niggling and nagging some more.
The more I don’t use it, the more it is a waste, the more it is a waste, the more I know I should work the whole thing out, the more I couldn’t bear to work it out, the more I didn’t use it, the more I didn’t use it, the more it is a waste and so on.
Can’t abide waste. Or decisions.
Meanwhile, I really want me one of those iphones. But, oh my, the cost and all of this ‘locked’ to a carrier. So maybe I should get an itouch, because then I get all the stuff I want, but without the phone. But then I still need to carry around the phone.
And you do know the source of the minerals that is in all these gadgets and electronic devices, don’t you (here is a link to raise hope for congo)?
And all the while, the ipod in the wardrobe nagging, niggling and nagging me.
Then, last night, while the mister was out looking at a selection of secondhand washing machines and furniture with which to furnish our new flat, I realised I did not bring a single Pogues CD with me. Two years without Summer in Siam and the Sunny Side of the Street?
The tipping point was reached, and I reached into the wardrobe, past the purple shoes (their chance for their annual outing gone when I got a cold on Friday and did not go to the ball) and I got the ipod out.
I downloaded itunes. I found out that there is new software for this ipod classic. I let it wipe everything that was already on there (goodbye back in black and human frailty – and yes, I cried when I did that, because what if the mister dies while he’s out and this could have been my last connection to him, I mean I know he won’t, but what if he does, bloody hell, woman, get over yourself, slap slap slap). I used my emusic audiobooks subscription for the month on myself instead of the children, and last night, I went to sleep with the sounds of Dylan Thomas in my ears.
To begin at the beginning…