Friday, July 18, 2008

Confessions of a headphone junkie

Originally written for the Tay Township Report, January 2008

I lost a dear friend of mine two weeks ago. As I was driving home from work, I stopped to pick my children up at their father's house, and hit pause on my iPod Nano. When I came back, all signs of life had disappeared. Frantically, I held down the play button, waiting for the tiny screen to light up. I cradle it's tiny body in my hands, uttering words of encouragement, lightly sprinkled with the odd obscenity, in hopes of talking it out of its apparent technological suicide. After a few minutes, I realized I would have to drive home, with only the radio and the happy squeals of my children for company, for that long five minute drive home. Dejected, I listened to the spurts of chatter and sporadic bursts of melody, as the car stereo scanned in search of a station to suit my needs. Upon arriving home, I crossed my fingers as I plugged my little silver and pink friend into my computer, certain that, like someone in insulin shock, all it needed was a little juice. Nothing.

It may be time for an introduction. My name is Andrea, and I have a problem. I am a full-fledged music junkie. There are plenty of music lovers in the world, but I am an addict. I used music the way others used anti-depressants, as a method of keeping me balanced. When I clean, when I drive, when I walk, when I exercise, it's there, keeping me company. In the early days of my current employment, one of the main draws of the job wasn't the pay, or the hours, but the fact that I was able to spend over 7 hours a day with my then-generic-brand mp3 player, as dear to me then as my little buddy is now. My head would swirl with ideas for playlists. I spent an entire day listening to nothing but the Pixies. More recently I embarked on a plan to listen to every track in my music collection, alphabetically by title. I was excited, and life was good. Poor thing didn't make it past the 'I's.

Upon returning to work after a period of mourning (okay, it was monday) I settled back into my routine. It was then, I had a revelation. Although I had never realized it before, my co-workers wanted to talk to me. Perhaps I was happily distracted, or maybe I just plain couldn't hear them over the melodic strains of Social Distortion, but they had been attempting to communicate with me, and I had been missing out. Every junkie hits that moment, when they realize that their habit has become a hindrance on their life in some way. I realized that my physical and metaphorical attachment to those little earbuds were having a negative effect on my social life - and probably my hearing as well.

It's been two weeks. In a moment of optimism and desperation, I've just plugged my little buddy back into my computer, and imagine that... a tiny, faint apple appeared on it's screen. I'm joyous, but also wary. I hope that, given this second chance, my little friend and I can start over in a relationship thats a little more healthy, for both of us.

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