I think I’m addicted to my iPod.
When I first started making a fuss about wanting one, Joe groaned. He thought I just wanted one because it was cool, and we would spend a lot of money on it and I’d never use it. To test me out, he bought a cheap imitation MP3 player on eBay. It came with badly translated-to-English warnings not to “damage the auditory” by playing it too loudly, and it had a real affection for Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” Every time I turned it on, it started with that song and usually returned to it several times. Even when you skipped to a new song, it usually came back to “Graceland.” Maybe it was trying to tell me something. You had to push every button five times before ANY song would come on, and I never did figure out how to actually put music on it. Joe had to do it, which probably contributed to his willingness to buy my iPod.
I used the crappy little player for months, tucking it in my pocket while I did household chores, always making sure Joe could see that I was using it. So for Christmas last year, he caved. I now have my slender, perfect, bright pink iPod, which made me as happy as if he’d bought me jewelry.
I figured I would use my iPod while cleaning or exercising, or maybe as something to help me on long car trips when Joe refuses to switch the radio off the bluegrass station. I had never really been one of those people who just sits around and listens to music, unless I was driving. If I’m just sitting around, I am probably reading. I like singing along with music while I cook or clean, walking to the beat while I’m on the treadmill. I like having it on in the background while I grade papers. But as I used my iPod more and more, it became kind of like a security blanket. I loaded it with all the songs that I thought I might ever want to listen to, and organized a ton of playlists to fit each new mood. I started downloading podcasts and radio shows. My iPod has become another thing I make sure I toss in my bag before I leave the house, with my phone and book and journal.
Joe makes fun of it, a little. Being the music snob that he is, he scoffs at the slight loss of sound quality that occurs when music is transferred to the tiny player. I don’t really hear the difference. He also gets a little paranoid at the idea that iTunes and other online music stores will cause the ruin of the CD and the destruction of independent music stores. I have to admit, that one stops me a little. I can’t stand the idea of not being able to walk into Ear-X-Tacy and browse through hundreds of albums I’d never think to look for online. I’m uncomfortable with the thought that I may be helping to put them out of business, but I think, for me anyway, my iPod has had the opposite effect. It’s made me enjoy listening to music more, and has made me eager to try new artists. It’s given me a way to test out new songs without making my husband’s ears bleed. We buy a lot of CDs still, and the only difference is that many of them now end up on my iPod, where I listen to them a lot more than I would have in the car or while washing the dishes.
So yeah, I am addicted to my iPod, but it’s actually probably improved the quality and quantity of music that I listen to. But sorry, Joe–I’m still drawing the line at bluegrass.