January 24, 2004

personal portables

I love my new birthday iPod. It's smooth and slim and sleek and it clicks when you run your finger along the touch-wheel and it holds so very much music. I rip CDs into my computer a few at a time when I can. At this rate, it may take me the rest of the year to rip our collection. But then. Oh my. I'll fit my music collection into my denim jacket pocket, carry it around like a package of cigarettes, only this addiction doesn't cause cancer. Lovely. I listen on a headset in the library as I write, I walk back to the car listening, I plug the iPod into my car stereo (via a cassette adapter) and listen while I go pick Damian up. We discuss what to hear next (he's a Springsteen fan) and we listen on our way home. It makes traffic congestion more bearable. I listen at home, too, I bought myself an Altec Lansing speaker system with some birthday money (thank you, Marilyn and Fernando!) and now I have a stereo in my office. I mean in the kitchen. Wait, I mean in the bathroom.

Yeah. Nice.

Sometimes I look at this little rounded rectangle of a hard drive and I'm amazed. It rides around in my daypack with my cell phone and my Palm Pilot and usually my digital camera, and if I'll be in Santa Monica for the afternoon (driving Damian both to and fro that day), I take my PowerBook too. So much equipment. So many electronics. How did this happen? They creep into my life -- our lives -- they're not indispensible, but they're oh so nice.

I think sometimes about how I had none of this -- none of this even existed -- when I was in college. A young adult, even. I know that reeks of the old fart shaking her head at the advent of television, but things move faster now, especially technology, and the changes are small (pocket-sized) but profound. I carry around a way to communicate, a way to surround myself with my own taste in music, a way to keep track of my life, a way to record it and have instant playback (and instant delete) ability. And of course the computer, which sits on my lap right now as I type on the bed, reaching out to you -- and you -- and yes, you over there who I don't know and have never met but maybe sometime we will because of this here and now, this blog I write on my lap on this keyboard, we may meet sometime and like each other and wouldn't that be cool?

Small changes that slip into my bag. A portable life. Metal and plastic and bits and bytes. Impersonal and mass produced but they become so personal, so intimate a part of us as they record and transmit our lives. Talismans and tools both.

Posted by Tamar at January 24, 2004 10:13 PM