Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ode to my iPod.

Dear iPod,

I knew this day was coming. It’s been coming for a long time, but I just didn’t want to admit it.

I remember when I first brought you home. It was January 2007, and I had just returned to college after Christmas break. For years, I had wanted an iPod of my very own – and it was finally going to happen. Hipster Boyfriend and I drove to St Cloud to spend my Christmas money at Best Buy. Hipster Boyfriend, being the hipster that he was, tried to convince me to get an older version – there must’ve been something about the teeny-tiny colorless screen that spoke to him. But when I saw you in the case, all shiny and black, I knew you had to be mine.

You were the biggest and best in Best Buy that day, and it was love at first sight. You not only had space for thousands upon thousands of songs, but you could also store pictures and video. What a high-tech and beautiful thing you were. I’ll never forget the thrill I felt when I used your scrolly wheel for the first time. I wanted you to last forever, so I bought you an aluminum case – as I have a propensity for dropping things, I didn’t want you to fall victim to my butterfingers. Only the best for you, iPod.

We were inseparable from the very beginning. I loaded you up with every last song that I had, but you had room for so much more. I had just started working at the college radio station, and all the new and wonderful music I discovered there went straight to you. During my stints as a radio show host, I would play some of my favorite songs just by plugging you into the station’s equipment. (Hipster Boyfriend and I got into countless spats over musical choices, but iPod, I knew you’d never judge me.) It was because of you that I was able to play songs like “Faith” and “I Would Do Anything For Love” on air – songs that a proper college radio station would be loath to have in its music collection.

You were my saving grace when I worked at the college newspaper. The paper came out every Thursday morning, so Wednesday nights in the newspaper office were hectic and loud. I could so easily turn you to shuffle and count on you to block out the hubbub around me with the perfect mix of songs. You never failed. And the few times I went to the gym at UMM, you were there to make me feel like less of an idiot.

When I moved to Denver for a summer internship, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. I had to ride the bus to and from my internship every day, and the ride was long, loud, and often smelly. Sometimes, a book just isn’t enough to distract me, but I could listen to you while I gazed out the window to the busy Denver streets. Then the noises and smells of public transit didn’t seem so bad.

After Denver, I moved to New Orleans – a 22 hour drive from my parents’ house. My sanity was only kept intact through your good graces, iPod. The radio can only do so much. At the end of my stay, Dad flew down to New Orleans and drove back with me. I think he appreciated you as much as I did.

You kept me company during my many walks to Target when I lived in Minneapolis. I lived close to downtown, so I’d walk to the Nicollet Mall after work. With you in my pocket, iPod, I found myself walking further and exploring more than I ever would’ve without you. There’s something about those earbuds and many thousands of songs at your fingertips that makes you lose track of time. When I moved to Sioux Falls, you continued to be my walking/biking partner.

Since I moved to Sioux Falls, James and I have taken countless road trips – and iPod, you’ve been around for every one. We’ve driven to Minneapolis at least thirty times, along with many trips to Brookings – not to mention our side-trips to Omaha, our engagement trip to Rapid City, and our big honeymoon road trip to Canada. For crying out loud, one of the main reasons that I bought the car that I did was because it had a plug-in just for you. And oh! The playlists! You helped me introduce James to so much new music, and you helped me to further appreciate what I had. From listening to Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me podcasts to holding David Bowie musical appreciation sessions to simply enjoying my cache of 90s pop music, you’ve made our road trips that much better.

While road trips are your specialty, iPod, you were also an invaluable airplane companion. Since you came into my life, you’ve been on trips to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cancun, Connecticut, and New Orleans. Nothing makes a plane ride fly by (see what I did there?) like an iPod chock-full of music.

But iPod, you’ve gotten temperamental in your old age. It’s to be expected: you’re seven and a half, after all, which is terribly old in iPod years.

You’ve lived a good life, iPod. I took care of you, and you took care of me. But some things are just inevitable. It’s been a few years since I first noticed that you had a hard time holding a charge, and lately, I can barely get you turned on before you will shut off on me. I know you’re tired. You’ve worked hard all these years, and now you’re ready for a rest.

It breaks my heart to have to part with you. You’ve been with me through thick and thin, always ready with just the right song to cheer me up. You were my first iPod, and I’ll never forget you.

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