Sometimes satifying a want is beter than satisfying a need. Yesterday I succumbed to the blandishments of the Ceasers and bought an iPod Shuffle. I’ve tried to buy my way out of sadness before, and am a gadget fetishist so that’s clearly what this behavior is about. I already have a twenty gig iRiver mp3 player with a perfectly adequate shuffle function. And a portable cd player with a random function. And a cassette walkman. So there is slim to no justification for springing for this. But I have to say that I am supremely satisfied with the purchase. From the date of its intruduction I’ve been intruiged with the shuffle, which seems to me to be the refinement of a particular idea of how people relate to their music, or rather how I would like to relate to mine. I’m very happy with the narrative of the shuflle, which runs something like this: you’re going on a short trip, so you throw a bunch of things in an overnight bag and just go. My tendency has always been I don’t know what I’ll want so I better take everything. I was heartbroken when my parent’s station wagon wasn’t sturdy enough to carry all of my lps up to my firstdorm room. I spent five thousand dollars moving hundreds of boxes of stuff from the West Coast to the East a few years ago. People are continually commenting on how heavy the bags are that I carry around daily, usually because they are filled with sketchbooks, books to read, drawing implements, priodicals, and other clutter. So the things that people have derided the Shuffle for are actually theraputic for me: the lack of screen, the limited fuctionality. One of the things I’ve noticed about my 20 gig player is that one i have something on it I’m loath to remove it: 20 gigs is enough for me to imagine that it’s a music collection, and so I start to worry if I’m going to need it down the road. With on 512mgs ther’s no way I could have that illusion. I plan on only using it with the autofill function: connect it to computer, autofill it, walk around with it on random play. The effect is one of listening to a very good radio station: all stuff that I’m interested in. Also I just received a huge amount of music from waltzingtree so many of the songs are unknown to me, and it’s a ctually a relief to hear something and to know that it’s futile to try to find out what it is exactly, instead of trying to whip out my player and note what the song is and try to remember it. It is a combination of the physical product it self and the method of use that it is designed to facilitate that appeals to me. The idea of my music collection as a deep well on my desktop machine that I drop a slim white bucket into and enjoy no matter what comes up.
At least I’m using my black sony earbuds and not the painfully poorly designed white ones that come with it
Other news in my life is so complex and dispiriting that it’s a respite not to write about it. But thank oyu all for your many kind expressions of concern and generous gestures