Monday, June 11, 2007

21st century problem solver

yesterday i jumped head first into the twenty-first century. i bought my first ipod. a nano ipod, hot pink and tiny. the young man (and when i say young, we are talking fourteen) at the apple store was very patient with me when i told him i was an ipod virgin and not very handy around all things techno. he assured me that it was really simple to operate. all i had to do was "plug this thing into that thing and then that thing into the other thing and then just download my music". right.

he also convinced me to buy accessories. my hot pink ipod was turning into the barbie doll of the twenty-first century. first i had to buy a power adapter. the twenty-three other power adapters i owned would not work and so i could add this adapter to the pile of others that sit tangled on the floor of my closet. then i purchased an ipod case. this case is billed as "the ultimate sports case for the active ipod". i was beginning to become concerned that my ipod was going to have a more interesting, and certainly more active, life than i was. i also bought an adjustable armband, suitable for carrying my ipod on hikes and bike rides (like that will ever happen). lastly, i purchased a "low profile belt clip". i can't remember the last time i wore a belt. i think it was around the sixth pregnancy when my waist disappeared for the final time, never to been seen again, but the young man was so convincing and had such faith in me i hated to disappoint him.

when i got home i couldn't wait to get started. my little pink beauty gleamed at me from her snug little bed encased in a plastic box. i tried to find an opening. there was none. i tried to wedge it open with a pair of scissors. no luck. then i tried a screw driver. the box would not budge. i was frustrated. i went into the garage and grabbed the tool kit. my eyes lit on a box cutter. aha! if they could bring down a jet plane with a box cutter i could surely open this little plastic prison and free my ipod. let us just say that i would have made a terrible terrorist. finally, i let out a scream of frustration which brought the husband running. he tried the scissors, the screw driver and the box cutter, also with no success, but being a man he was not going to let a little plastic box get the better of him. finally, using a combination of the scissors and the screw driver he managed to liberate my ipod. now i was set.

i plugged the thing in the thing. then i plugged the other thing in the other thing. i followed the young man's instructions to the letter. i tried - i swear, but i got nothing. unfortunately, while the husband is good with tools he knows even less than i about things techno and so i had to call my son. this is the call of last resort. one, i hate to bother him and two, i hate that he knows how stupid i am. i remember when i used to know more than he but those days are long gone. he was very patient and talked me through the whole process. when i was ready to download my music i realized that the only music i had on my computer was put there by my daughter. i was going to have an ipod full of "ten inch nails" and "rodents on fire" but hey, music is music. i thanked my son, got off the phone and waited for the ipod to load. it finished pretty quickly. i placed the little ear pieces in my ear and - oh my god - there was music. it was a miracle! i tried to lower the volume and in doing so must have pressed something by mistake. suddenly, my ipod spoke only russian. having your ipod speak russian is a huge problem. all the commands were in russian and the worst part was, that unless you actually spoke russian, there is no way to remedy the situation. it was now 11:15 p.m. what to do? all i wanted from this little device was to play a few songs while i trudged along on the tread mill at the gym. i wasn't asking for anything fancy or even complicated. i just wanted a little frank sinatra, a little ella fitzgerald, a little johnny mathis to help me pass the time while i was doing time on the treadmill. and so i called my son - again. "did i wake you"? i asked. no, he was just sitting with a roomful of friends discussing the most important news of the day, perhaps the century, the finale of the soprano's t.v.show. i told him about my slight problem. when he stopped laughing and after he shared it with all of his friends in the room, he proceeded to help me out of the gulag and back to the old u.s. of a. i thanked him - grateful that i was smart enough to give birth to someone who actually knows how to do this stuff - and went to bed.

this morning, on my way to the gym i picked up my ipod, turned it on, at least i thought i turned it on, and there it was - chinese. i refused to call my son again. i had a talk with myself. "you are smart, you are capable. you can solve this problem". i thought long and hard and came up with a solution. i made a few phone calls and by the time i got to the gym, there was johnny mathis, waiting to sing to me while i exercised.

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