The slow and steady iPod-ization of a stubborn guy
My beagle and I have something in common. We're both stubborn. Very stubborn.
For years my friend Lang has been telling me I really ought to get an iPod -- especially for the car. He knows I do lots of long drives, and he knows I like nothing better than to enjoy a loud, mini-concert on the road. "You plug in your iPod," he says, "and you've got thousands of songs to choose from. You can listen to your favorite albums. You can create your own playlists. You can put the iPod on `shuffle,' and be pleasantly surprised by the random songs you hear. And you don't you don't need to take the time or have the bother of putting six CDs into your changer."
I "yes" him, to allow this particular topic of conversation to peter out. But what I'm thinking is, if I want to be surprised by random songs, can't I just listen to the radio? And really, how hard is it to pick out a few CDs in advance and feed them into a slot on the dash?
Similarly, my oldest son, Matt, has been pushing the iPod on me for some time -- especially for running. He jogs with it all the time, he tells me. "You choose some good, high-energy running music. It puts you in a really great mood. Makes the miles go by a lot quicker. You don't even think about running."
"Sounds great," I say, to get him off my back. Meanwhile, what I'm thinking is, I enjoy running; why would I want to take my mind off it? I like to be one with the road. I like the rhythmic sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement. I like to hear the birds chirping, the leaves rustling.
My friend Jeff has been part of the iPod conspiracy, too. He tells me I'll love it for all the music I can have at my fingertips. "You can buy individual songs," he says. "Or you can download your friends' music. I'd be happy to share my whole collection with you -- over 2,500 songs. Some great tunes."
"Yeah, maybe I'll do that," I say. What I'm thinking is, great tunes, right -- if you like Peter, Paul, and Mary. And besides, I stink at sharing. (I know -- a bit harsh -- but remember, I didn't really say this stuff.)
What it really came down to, this resistance of mine, besides my innate stubbornness and my fear of any new gadgetry (I also resisted the cell phone, HD-TV, the digital camera, GPS -- and I'm still holding out against the Blackberry and all its little brothers and sisters), is that I found the prospect of downloading my entire musical collection far too daunting.
Sure, all the iPod enablers would tell me I could do the whole download in a couple of hours -- but I know all about those "couple of hours" when it comes to me and technology. You can multiply that couple by 50 -- easy.
Eventually it was my own family who decided to take the matter out of my hands and do an intervention. Last Father's Day, my three sons got me an iPod -- and part of the "gift" was that they promised to download all my music.
Turns out we were both right. (And by both, I mean I, on the one hand, and the rest of the universe, on the other.) I was right in that it did take the boys pretty much the whole summer to get all my music onto my iPod. The rest of the universe was right in that the iPod has changed my life.
So far, my main "app" (just wanted to show you I'm capable of using a word invented after the Crusades) for my iPod has been for running. And even though I've always enjoyed my daily run, I now positively look forward to it, as I eagerly arrange a rousing sequence of high-octane songs for the occasion. Also, though I used to get to listen to music for long stretches only on the occasional drive, now I have that pleasure every day -- and with shuffle (yes, I do use shuffle), I hear some great tunes I've totally forgotten about. I also run about twice as fast as I used to and, for the most part, lose track of my mileage. I might even find myself unintentionally running a marathon one of these days -- something I haven't done for 29 years.
So for all my friends, family, and the rest of the world out there who would like to say "I told you so": Yes, you certainly did.
Just stop with the Blackberry talk, would you?
Westporter Hank Herman shares his Home Team column every other Friday in the Westport News.