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project hot air balloon


By 5:03 PM , , ,

Originally uploaded by looseid

It went everywhere I went. It piped the soundtrack to every walk, stroll, jog (even though I never jog), sleep, project, party, drive, dinner, cocktail time, job, zone out, you name it. It was there for me like Tonto was there for the Lone Ranger.

40 gigabytes of music, both legally obtained and pirated. Stolen, shared, bought and copied. I think it was something crazy like 28 days straight of music non-stop. That's the whole month of February. Granted February is the shortest month, but I challenge any device to do anything half as engaging for 28 days without taking a break. My catalog spanned everything before, during and after the 20th century. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Bands that proclaimed themselves, like The Ramones, The Who, The Jam, The Police, The Breeders, The Band, The The. Single-monikered ladies like Peaches and Bjork; spoken Sedaris, Rollins; Elvis and Prince with the Attractions and beyond the Revolution; a billion hours of old school soul, R&B, funk, hiphop, John Lee, Mayfield, Miles, Gaye, Wonder, Brown, Parker, Franklin, Rufus with Chaka or Martha, and gospel, oh Mahalia! grunge, punk, speed metal, hardcore, surf/skate crap, bubblegum pop, nouvelle vague, twang, swang, gansta, J-pop, French drivel, Italian soundtracks, Argentine tango, Mexican canciones, Brazilian bossa nova, African a cappella, cello, piano, guitar, chamber, woodwind, opera, musical, electronica, indie/alt, disco, hymns, gay, straight, diva, undecided, animal, mineral, plant, and on and on. I packed it all in and every chance I got, I got lost in sound. Those little earbuds are the speediest time-space traveling vessel ever invented.

I became so one with my iPod that I honestly started to believe that there was a tiny little DJ trapped inside who knew exactly what mood I was in that day; he played the correct tracks whenever I put it on shuffle. This, in the calm light of day, is a ridiculous exaltation, because I'm the one who put all the damn music on this thing, of course I'm going to like it. It's not on shuffle of the entire catalog of music known to the Universe, just my own small solar system.

Before I had one, I thought the iPod was leading society down an anti-social path, where everybody is boxed in and juiced up by a little white cord. We'd walk around in a trance, only aware of our own wall of sound and the emotions accompanying it. People would look past each other and stop paying attention or caring.

It drove me mad when I was out with friends and there was the one music geek who would be completely checked out, toiling over and remastering playlists to become the ├╝ber-guru that he fancied himself, despite the fact that he was being clumsy and awkward around present company.

But once I crossed over to guzzle the kool-aid there was no turning back. I fully admit that on more than one occasion predicting that my life would stop and that I would die should anything happen to my iPod. This is a classic miscalculation when you're in love with somebody who's capable of breaking your heart.

Naturally, when your love burns hot like this, you are doomed to crash hard. And crash I did. I was freelancing as a textile designer at Old Navy and I had my iPod plugged in to my work station. It was working fine until it stopped working altogether. It was pretty swift. I remember my heart knotting up. I unplugged and plugged it a dozen times thereafter but prognosis seemed grim.

That was 2006. Surprisingly enough I continue to live. My life hadn't stopped.

I am constantly amazed by how much my present self underestimates my future self. My future self is much sturdier and unflappable than I give myself credit. She should know better by now.

So, this is where I say goodbye to my fallen friend. I held onto you for 3 years, hoping that one day you would wake from your coma. I scoured the web to find underground methods to resurrect you and all the treasures trapped within. I dreamed that we would take more walks together, road trips and soul-search. But it doesn't feel like you're ever going to be your former self again. And that's okay, because the truth is I no longer need you. I, too, am no longer my former self these days.

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