The iPod: It’s a gift. And a curse.
My first task of this holiday weekend was a rather challenging one. I’ve often been boggled by my mother’s iPod. You know, what’s not on it, and what shockingly and cringe-worthingly is.
So I made a list, skimming through all of the artists and asking my mother if she really listened to [insert artist name here]. A sample conversation:
[Note: all facial expressions and/or actions are in parentheses; all thoughts are in italics.]
Me: Arctic Monkeys?
Mom: (blank expression on face)
Me: You do not listen to The Arctic Monkeys. I don’t even listen to The Arctic Monkeys.
Mom: They must be on some playlist that you gave me.
Me: Yeah, like a year ago. But do you listen to them.
Me: Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Me: Click Five! I’m taking this crap off!
Mom: (silence, before she can object)
(Note: same pattern goes for bands like Green Day, Jewel, etc.)
Me: Hellogoodbye?! Do you even listen to them.
Mom (defensively): Yes!
Me: Seriously?! No you do not — name one song of theirs.
Mom: You know I can’t remember song names!
Me: Okay, then tell me how one of their songs goes.
Me: Panic! At the Disco?!!!!!!
Mom: I like them.
Me (disappointed): Mother.
Mom: It’s only two songs.
Me: Mother. But it’s so embarassing. Even though I have some of their songs on my iPod, but who needs to know?
Mom: Let me tell you how I listen to my iPod.
Me: Oh, geez.
Mom: I listen to playlists, I lsiten to shuffle songs, and, occasionally, occasionally (she stresses this word very much), I listen to a particular album.
Me: Yeah, I only listen to my iPod in playlists. You have way too many playlists, too…. Like here, you have 1-4, which are the same thing as this one, just broken up.
Mom: Yeah I know.
Me: You know? And here, this running one.
Mom: Ooooh! I love that one. It’s, like, my favorite running playlist.
Me: This is all you listen to when you run?
Mom: Well, no.
Me: It’s from April. But then again you have things on here that are year old.
Mom: Yeah, I know.
Me (nonchalantly): Okay, I’m taking off Weezer, too.
Me: Oh my God, when do you ever listen to Weezer?
Mom: (silence, then:) I listen to them.
Me: You have like one song! How can you say that you listen to someone when you have only, like, one song from them on here?
Mom: I listen to them.
[I wonder if she can’t bring herself to actually say “Weezer.”]
Me: (mouth half-open, not believing it)
Mom: I want them on my iPod.
Me: Really? Do you really think that you’ll ever be like “Man, I really wish I had that one Weezer song on my iPod!”
Mom: (uncontrollable laughter)
Me: “Gosh, if only I had that Weezer song!”
Mom: (in hysterics)
Me: My case rests.
Mom: No, let me tell you how I listen to my iPod. I have playlists, I listen to shuffle songs, and occasionally, I–
Me: Sugarcult?! Yeah, right.
And so it was as I scrolled down her many, many artists, compiling a list of artists that ranged from Goo Goo Dolls (?) to Matchbox Twenty (??) to Velvet Revolver (???).
But then I deleted everything off her iPod, minus 50 songs from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack and Elliott Smith’s New Moon, per her request. And do you know what, somehow, somehow I found room for all of the songs that she listens to regularly (including 100+ Billy Joel/Elton John songs). It’s a concept that I like to call “no mercy.” Why have songs that you never listen to wasting space on your iPod when you could have free space (ah, what a novel concept!) for new songs, so that whenever you want to add songs to your iPod, you don’t have to delete a whole bunch of song?
I see this whole thing working out as a MasterCard commercial.
Number of songs on your iPod: 763
Number of songs that you actually listen to: 259
Number of songs that you’ve never listened to: more than half
Number of dollars spent on music library: $1024.38
Number of playlists before: 3,643,018
Number of playlists after: 3
A clear, happy iPod: priceless