For the first time in my life, I touched, held and sort of semi-operated an iPod yesterday. And yes, I know that to confess I do not own a personal music and video storage and playback device makes me non-relevant in today's modern-now-a-go-go world. I am fully aware to confess my techno-failings may well conjure the image of me as a caveman hurling mono-syllabic grunts and rocks at the hand-held monolith which offers wisdom to humanity.
How did my clumsy, over-knuckled hands even attempt to operate the device?
Here's how it happened: as I have already mentioned, I am assisting with the production of a children's theater production of "Jungle Book Kids". And so, as part of yesterday's rehearsal it was my job to cue up the appropriate tunes and play them, sometimes pausing them or re-setting the device to play the tune again. Luckily, despite my lack of pod-knowledge, no adults or children were harmed.
I admit the device is a marvel of hand-held tech. I cannot swear to it's actual model, but after some web research, I think it was an iPod Classic (not a NanoPod or some off-brand MP3 dealie). Sleek and black and sliver-backed with the Apple trademark, I was given a quick lesson on how to use it, and that only a touch is needed to guide the device. I like that - no antiquated knobs or buttons to twirl and mash.
I thought what I might do with such a device should I own one. I could load every CD I own into the device and barely use a teeny section of memory, though just how I would actually transfer the music is still a mystery to me other than using some cable to connect the pertinent devices. I gather the iPod is smart enough to know what to do with the songs I might place in them.
Buying or adding music a song a time is still an oddity to me. For instance, I was just reading last night about an album which came out in 1967 called Forever Changes by a band called Love which I had never really heard of before. I found some samples of the tunes to listen to online, noted I could buy them one at a time. But the original album has some nice trippy artwork and I tend to prefer musicians who compose and create an album which is meant to be listened to in the order it was made. So I realize I'm still catching up on 1967 and that was 40 years ago so I'm really behind.
Being hip to the moment has never actually been a goal for me. I stumble across music and tech and news and trends which may be ancient or brand-spankin' new all the time. I follow my curiosity to places and music and things, regardless of whether it's in fashion or obscure or even just a relic of the past.
And I do know I have no interest in peering into a teeny screen the size of a Cheez-it to watch some video or a movie. I like the big screens, I miss 70mm Cinerama images, which again marks me as some ancient artifact.
Touching the li'l pod-thing made me reflect on those days when I first left home and went into college, carting with me a delicately packed box containing a carefully calibrated turntable, and the necessary tuner to power the turntable, likewise packed into it's own box. And then there were the huge speakers and coils of wire needed to provide sound. And then boxes and crates of albums to play on my musical apparatus. I had more sound equipment than clothes to cart around. Still, no matter when or where I moved, those boxes all came first and foremost.
Now I am down to maybe three boxes of albums, which collect dust in the basement, the turntable has not worked in years, nor the tuner, and still I move them from place to place. The years of collecting and buying all that would now be fast-tracked to online downloads and take up the room of a sandwich in my hand. That's most cool, I admit.
Still, I am an ancient thing in the world, which measures time in nanoseconds. I would rather spend the money for an iPod on something else - computer software, maybe a nifty hi-def TV, or maybe some new tires for my truck. The truck has a cassette player which has not worked in a few years, but there are still a few radio stations worth tuning in which have more than the Talk Show Hate of the Day to offer.
So I use the tech I have, portable CD players or radios. I prowl on the computerized info-net-superhighway-cyberized nation, learning of things new and old, taking what I want and leaving the rest for some later day or for someone else to master.
At least I am not yelling for kids to "Stay Offa My Lawn!!" Not yet anyway.