Thursday, February 24, 2005

What They Should Really Tell You about Your iPod.

  1. The belt clip doubles as a neat little headphone-cord winder.
  2. Yes, you have joined the white-headphone-wearing masses. Deal with it. Or get yourself a different pair of headphones.
  3. If you are a Windows user, you may well be unnerved by the incredible ease of the iPod and iTunes. This discomfort will be increased if you are a Protestant as well as a Windows user: You know that we are put on this earth to be perfected in suffering, and the simplicity of the software will seem uncomfortable, indeed unnatural, and not at all like God intended. You will gradually adjust to this feeling, however, and even come to treasure its faint scent of sin. It isn't called Apple for nothing.
  4. The iPod isolates and insulates. You lock yourself into the space between your earbuds. You listen to music you already know. It is safe, with all the blessings and dangers that that implies.
  5. The iPod disconnects music from mood or experience in ways that may make you uneasy at the beginning. Hit "Shuffle" and suddenly you are hearing "Peter Pan" by Patty Griffin -- a song you have always associated with darkness and sadness and held breath -- in the middle of a perfect sparkling Saturday afternoon, and you must expand your understanding of either the light in the song or the shadows of the day to make the two cohere. On the other hand, "Shuffle" can also create wonderful conjunctions you would never have seen yourself: Listen to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" in the middle of a big-box Lowe's Home Store surrounded by anxious wannabe suburbanites and see if you can manage not to smile.
  6. The iPod also allows you to connect music to mood or experience more perfectly than you sometimes need. If you're tired, depressed, and lonely after a long evening at work, do you really want to listen to the Dixie Chicks singing "Home"? Wouldn't it be better to go with Van Morrison bopping out "Jackie Wilson Said"? It is too damn easy to indulge your emotions with this thing.
  7. That is, if you can find the music to indulge them with, if the experience of overshooting the click wheel or having to run through all your albums to find Stevie Wonder at last or even merely analyzing your feelings to determine what music you need doesn't snap you out of the feeling itself.
  8. As demonstrated by #5-7, you can easily spend as much time thinking about how the music you're hearing connects to your non-headphones experience as you do actually listening to the music.
  9. If this happens, close your eyes. Listen. Breathe. That is why you have this in the first place: for the chance to hear the music, be the music, anywhere and everywhere.
  10. "For most of us, there is only the unattended
    Moment, the moment in and out of time,
    The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
    The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
    Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
    That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
    While the music lasts."

    Like that.
  11. And when the song is done, open your eyes, take out your headphones, and stop being safe.

1 comment:

  1. The iPod also allows you to connect music to mood
    or experience more perfectly than you sometimes need.