For years, I had looked upon the iPod-toting, white-earbud wearing humans around me as degenerates. Do you really need to have those things with you at all times? Do you really need to have your entire music collection on your person every second of the day? I wasn't against portable music at all; I had an mp3 player that held 28 songs (hey, it was Intel's PocketConcert, a forerunner in its time) and it served me quite well. If you needed to listen to more than 28 songs at any one time (the gym, for example) then I thought that whatever you were doing you were doing too much and too long.
And then I got an iPod.
A big one, too, not the Shuffle or the Nano. The 30 gig with video. And I fell in love. It wasn't love at first sight, but a slow and gentle affair. And now I live in fear of it's eventual demise. Or even if I just forget one day and leave it at home.
I didn't buy it myself, it was a gift. And I remained skeptical at first. Then I started to load up all of my "essential" albums. And when I saw that I had room for more (nearly 24 gigs), I loaded up the non-essential albums. And bootleg shows. And the dance, trance and extended remix songs I use for Spinning classes. And I still have 11 gigs left.
It's counterintuitive for someone like me to have 3300 songs in her pocket and not really need them. In daily life, I throw things out immediately when I determine no imminent use for them. I delete draft files, files I haven't used in X amount of months or days. I am resisting the urge of my neat-freak-self to purge songs from my iPod. But then I think "why should I?" I still have 11 gigs left. Standing empty, awaiting more songs and video.
I started out just listening to it on the train to work and on the walk to and from the train, helping to make the most mundane parts of the day more tolerable. That was maybe 90 minutes a day. And then I started listening at work, again with the mundane/tolerance theory, realizing it blocks out nonsense noise in an open-air work environment and helps me to ignore what I need to to get my job done. So now I'm up to 6-7 hours a day.
And then, I found the car adapter. For long roadtrips, what is better than having 3000+ songs to shuffle through or have your co-pilot play "Name That Tune" with?
And the gym? I can create on-the-go playlists while I'm at work or walking to the train and have a brand new workout for tonight, without having to log on to the computer and delete and reload songs. Intel PocketConcert, I miss you, but not that much.
Now I'm looking at the home stereo iPod alternatives. Certainly, I'll be needing to listen to the iPod in the comfort of the living room at some point.
But I worry. I worry that there is something wrong with me when, lying in the sun beachside or poolside, I reach to my side and realize it's not there. My hearing is unmuffled from lack of earbuds yet I feel alone and exposed without my iPod. I worry that there's something wrong because when I leave my desk to run an errand and put it in my drawer, my heart still skips a beat when I get back to my desk and see it not on the desktop where it belongs, until I remember it's safely tucked away. I worry that the degradation in volume I'm experiencing this week is more than just my messing with the factory settings....it might just be the first signs of its imminent demise. Or that skip in the song that happened yesterday? Is that too a sign that the end of iPod's shelf life approaches?
I continue to coddle and cradle my baby when I can and will attempt to diagnose these little bugs if they persist.
But I can say, without hesitation, if and when iPod #1 passes on to that iPod haven in the sky, I will be most immediate in my replacement of it. Yes, I've become one of them.