Monday, June 29, 2009

The Good Ol' Days: Walkmans and MP3 Players

A man gives his tech savvy son a Walkman for a week and the kid writes a column about it. Predictably, it is filled with "How did anyone ever tolerate this?!" kinds of lines.

Once you are of a certain age, you get lots of these sorts of comments, but it never ceases to amaze me the degree of superiority that can be expressed in so few words.

My disclaimer: I have an iPod shuffle, but I've never even listened to it. In a fit of timeliness (say, two years late), I asked for it for Christmas a couple of years ago. The thing sat in its case for about 18 months before my husband dusted it off and gave it to my son to use. I suppose I wanted the thing in theory more than practicality.

I still use a CD player in my car and swap out the CDs. That is, I do this when I listen to music at all. Mostly, I listen to talk radio over various stripes. This causes great consternation from the Hannah Montana set in the backseat, who constantly request that I put on Radio Disney or something of that sort. Usually, I comply, since I can see while dissecting the debt they will inherit from this abominable administration can be tiresome even to middle aged ears.

I also remember having a Walkman back in the 1980s, but, just as today, I couldn't understand the people who wanted to spend their lives with things stuck on (or in) their ears, listening to music as opposed to paying attention to what was going on around them. To me, real life--the life going on as you walk down the street, through the mall, in the library, at work--is interesting enough that I don't need my own soundtrack.

Nowadays, my husband has an iPhone and he constantly fiddles with it, finding new apps, cursing new apps, searching for old apps he can't find anymore, downloading Podcasts that he won't get around to listening to for another three months. Once again, I've thought about getting one. Downloading programs I'm interested in might be fun. But I'm still wondering if it wouldn't just end up like the DVR, filled with unwatched television shows that get deleted by newer unwatched programming. Maybe I'm just not young enough to want to escape that much.