Monday, February 11, 2008

I love my iPod. Except when I hate it.

The DePaul University gym is wonderful. The facilities are new and shiny, they have every kind of equipment known to man, and working out next to nubile young 18-year-olds with their perky little bods and cheerful insouciance is a beautiful thing. Really. I love it. I also appreciate the fact that they leave the pool to us geriatric folk and our apparently aching joints, so that I can then be the only person upstairs on the treadmill or lifting weights who looks like a feral raccoon, thanks to swim goggle impressions. That’s just so swell, and I thank you for your thoughtfulness, nubile coeds.

So amidst this Nirvana on earth is where I work out. Today, after finishing up my usual swim routine (2 laps, 6 Thighmaster reps, repeat 4 times, done. Whew, exhaustion!), I head upstairs to hit the treadmill for a while. Going along at my usual zippy 3 mph, I boldly decide to ramp up to 4.5 mph, show these whippersnappers what real working out is like, when it happens. As usual. Now I say to you, the iPod is a wonderful invention, probably the greatest of modern times. Better than sliced bread. And yet. They can put together this complex technological marvel, have it do everything but make toast….but they can’t come up with TWO SIMPLE PIECES OF PLASTIC THAT ACTUALLY STAY IN ONE’S EARS??!!! Okay, so maybe I’m a freak with abnormal ears. I’m willing to accept partial responsibility for this fiasco. Or maybe iPods weren’t meant to be used by people who are in actual motion. I get that. After all, most Americans haven’t moved from their couches since the late Cretaceuous period, so fine, cater to them. But when some of us are on our third pair of earbuds, with said earbuds purported to actually stay in one’s ears better than previous pairs that didn’t do jack shit….well… it really so much to ask that they do not keep kerplupping out of one’s right ear every 20 seconds? Not the left, just the right – and yes, I put them in the correct ears. For the love of god, Apple, are you trying to drive us all mad? Because I must say, you’re doing a damn fine job of it.

Needless to say, every time this earbud escape happens I get more and more disgruntled, going from a tiny “grr” to a louder “aaahhhrghhh” to an even louder “SHIT!”, to my grand pinnacle of a moment at the DePaul gym, where I guarantee myself a lot of space when I work out in the future, as I grab the earbuds, rip them out of the iPod, scream “DAMN YOU iPod, bane of my existence! Have you no MERCY? I SPIT in your general direction!” as I jump up and down on the earbud set in a Rumpelstiltskin-like fervor and am delighted to see by my heart rate that this has suddenly turned out to be a decent workout.

Feeling better, I now notice how quiet it is. Boy, everyone must really be focusing on their workouts. Good on ya, kids! I pick up the now-mangled earbuds, and hey, they still work! Sweet! Decide to finish up with some stretching, singing along to Tom Waits. Perhaps it’s prophetic that shortly thereafter, my iPod freezes up during the Aimee Mann song “Wise Up.” Story of my life. And really, is there anything more tragic in this world than an iPod that is non-functional? I think not. Time to call it a day. My work here at the gym is done.

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