05 December 2011

The iPod Experiment

Last Christmas my sweet mother gifted me with an iPod.  I didn't ask for one (shoot, I hadn't even listened to normal music yet, since I had been home from my mission for only 9 days).  In fact, I never had any desire to have one.  I figure that she probably thought I was some weird girl who had trouble picking up on social cues.  "Earth to Sarah, it's 2010 and you don't own an iPod.  Most people are on their third or fourth one by now.  Get with it."  And thus, the iPod that I had been adamantly avoiding for so many years was thrust upon me.

Why be an iPod hater?  I really have only one reason.  But it's a solid one.  I find it indescribably annoying when peoples' ears are constantly jammed with head phones or ear buds or any sort of listening device that--intentionally or not--screams to the world: "Don't talk to me!."

And that is what they are saying.  That is exactly what they are saying.  "Don't bother saying hi because I am in the Josh Groban zone."  Or Celtic Woman.  Or Coldplay.  Or Fictionist.  I have a sneaking suspicion that those are the top 4 artists listened to on BYU campus.

So I'm a friendly person!  Sue me!  Is friendliness a crime???  I've never been embarrassed by my social assertiveness until the iPod phenomenon made it so that I can't yell out your name from afar and expect you to answer.  Instead, nothing but pathetic stares from other passers-by who are certainly thinking, "Poor girl, she's so desperate for friends she pretends she knows people on campus."

Also, what's wrong with silence?  It's those times when I'm walking, letting my mind wander, brooding over decisions, making life plans, etc. that I receive some of the very best inspiration.  I'm listening to myself.  And I'm listening to God.  And they are what ultimately motivate and inspire me.  Not Weezer.  But if I didn't leave those moments free of musical distraction, no one else would be able to get a word in edgewise.  Not me, not God, not you.  (Yeah yeah yeah, I know Yo-Yo Ma can ease and enlighten the soul.  I'll let that one slide.)

So, what am I to do with this new iPod?  Well, it was great for my car since it doesn't have a CD player.  And there it remained.  For 10 months. I loaded music on to it once and never charged it again since the car battery kept it juiced.  Then one day, my roommate asked if I had an iPod I could borrow while she went running.  I almost said no because I forgot I even owned one.  This got my wheels turning.  What would it be like to run with an iPod?  Who am I kidding, I don't run.  What would it be like to walk around all day with an iPod?  What would it be like to do what everyone else is doing?

I decided to carry out an experiment...

Day 1:  Purse, books, jacket, and Arcade Fire in my ears.  Ready to go.  I felt like I had entered some virtual music video.  And I was the star of it.  For the first time in my life I had my own background music.  I experienced symptoms of dizziness and confusion...and retardation, as I nearly walked straight into a telephone pole.

Day 2: Can people hear this?  Do they even KNOW how awesome my music taste is?  They'd all want to hang out with me if they did.  Am I wearing this right?  Can they tell I'm a first-timer?

Day 3: I...am...in...a...daze.

Day 4:  Why are less people smiling at me when I walk past them?  Oh, it's because I'm not smiling at them first.  Crap.  Recognition of problem.

Day 5:  I ignored someone.  I IGNORED someone!  I am a terrible person!  I failed to notice someone waving at me and saying my name.  Who does that?!  Me.  Because I was in the iZone.  It was Ben Folds!  Blame him!

I had created a monster.  In no more than 5 days I had gone from hater to addict.  Life was magical with background music!  It was edgy.  Fortunately, because I caught the problem early on, I didn't give it time to fester and spread like the mold I found in the butter tub last night.  Seriously, it was gross.

With strict self-discipline, I limit myself to the iZone on my morning walk to campus as a sort of wake-up method.  You should not find me with the buds in the ears at any other time (except for studying).  If you do, you have permission to punch me in the face.

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