Thursday, January 6, 2011

That's When I Started Primal Screaming

I recently returned to Chicago after visiting my parents in another state. I took a shuttle to the airport, and once I was in the van, I suddenly realized something.

No. It can't be. Oh, dear God, NO. Nonononono! TURN THE VAN AROUND! But it was too late.

I realized I'd forgotten my iPod at my parents' house.

Before you roll your eyes and call me superficial, think about how often you use your iPod/cell phone/laptop, and then try to see if you could live without it for a week or more. I wouldn't have minded leaving my cell phone behind, because I hate talking on the phone anyway. Forgetting my laptop would have been worse, especially since I use it for work, but I can always just use the computers at school. But my iPod? I NEED it!

I use my iPod when I'm commuting, doing chores, or working out. I also use it when I'm walking around outside, because if I look like I'm not otherwise occupied random creepy people will see that as an invitation to talk to me. And then I have to run away from them, and seeing how it's often so snowy and icy out right now, I'd really rather not slip, fall, and crash into a crowd of people, you know?

Not having my iPod meant that everything seemed to take so much longer. It also meant that I was more prone to eavesdropping on the people around me. I thought, Maybe this is good. This will make me more observant, and maybe I could pick up some writing material. But when I think back to what I observed and heard at the airport when I was waiting for my flight back to Chicago, I'm not so sure. Unless I write a book with a chapter titled, "Things You Shouldn't Say in Public".

Here are a few examples:

Barista #1 who was making my coffee at the airport cafe: I feel so itchy today. Would someone scratch my back for me?
Barista #2: I don't want to catch anything from you. Then I might die.

Woman sitting next to me in the waiting area, who spoke loudly on her cell phone for 45 minutes: I'm just waiting for my plane. I think I'm going to go get something to eat, and then I'm going to go potty later. (I should add that this woman looked like she was in her forties, and based on her conversation it did not appear that she was talking to a five year old.)

Woman sitting behind me on the plane, who was talking to the guy beside her: Well, if you have time while you're in the city, let me know. I could show you around. I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind.
Guy: Sounds like fun.

It didn't help that several of the people around me were listening to music on their iPods, which made me stare at them with envy. I think one guy thought I was checking him out, but I was really just wondering if he had any of Katy Perry's songs on his playlist.

I won't be getting my iPod back until next week, so hopefully I can live without it until then. Or maybe I'll just curl up into a fetal position and whimper softly until I get it back.

What about you? What is one thing that would be difficult for you to live without (aside from the obvious, like oxygen, food and water)?


  1. Not having the internet is pretty devastating when you're at home-no email, no blogs, no Ravelry. But it is quite liberating not having it on vacation. It reminds me how much I like snail mail and books and the outdoors.

  2. I can totally sympathize. I remember when my Iphone was being fixed/replaced and I had to go without it for like a week. It was AWFUL.

    On the other hand, those are some pretty interesting convos! I love eavesdropping ;)

  3. I would die without my phone. How would I make plans with people? How would I get work-related emails? How would I get directions when I'm lost? How would I call when I'm running late or to see where someone is? It just... impossible to imagine life without.

    I like when my iPod dies sometimes. I actually feel more calm when I'm not cut off from the world by one of my sense, if that makes sense...

  4. Hi Anna,
    I do miss snail mail. It's much more fun getting letters than e-mails. I used to have pen pals when I was younger, and it was interesting to get to know people through letters.

    Hi Catherine,
    I wish I had an iPhone. Then maybe I could listen to music on it and I wouldn't have to worry about my iPod. :)

    Hi gem,
    It's interesting how just a few years ago most of us didn't use the Internet, cell phones, or iPods. It's hard to remember how we lived without them. :)

  5. "Then I might die." Hahaha! Here's your coffee!

    I can't travel without a book. Full stop. I'd rip one out of an invalid's hands and run before I'd sit there with nothing to do. Sorry you asked?

  6. Look at the bright side: you get to hear all kinds of UNEDITED dialogue!

    Can't your iPod be overnighted or sent via 2-day or something?

  7. Hi FreeFlying,
    At least the barista didn't ask me to scratch her back. :) I did buy a magazine at the airport, but I read it cover to cover (twice) by the time the plane landed. Next time, I'll bring a book.

    Hi notesfromnadir,
    I wish my iPod could be overnighted, but it would have cost extra. I guess I'll just have to wait until next week, sighhh...

  8. yes, having the Iphone has solved that problem for me. i used to have a ipod touch and another phone, but it was kind of a pain lol.

  9. My laptop. Because I work everywhere I go. I don't have an iPod and I rarely use my cell phone. That last time I was home in the states I was shocked and amazed to see how people in the US rely on electronics. Not that people in Europe don't have those things, but I'm much more likely to see someone with a newspaper or a book on a train over here.

  10. OK, I admit it: Like Deni, I need my laptop. Since I'm a freelance writer who's been traveling a lot, it would be very difficult to have one without the other.
    Books, too. If I had to be on a plane without something to read I would be very, very unhappy.

  11. Hi Deni,
    It seems like nowadays people are more likely to be reading news articles or books on their electronic devices than in actual newspapers r books. I can't really figure out how to use the iPad, though, not that I have one anyway.

    Hi Donna,
    It would definitely be hard to live without books. I tried giving up "fun" books while I was studying for finals once in college so that I wouldn't be distracted. It felt like I was going into withdrawal. :)

  12. You are NOT superficial. Random conversations may be great for blog posts and to make our fiction more authentic, but sometimes we need to shut the noise OUT.

    Example from my trip on a Bolt Bus from Boston to NYC:

    "I was supposed to tan, but then my boss found out and said, 'Everyone needs to be here - especially Clarissa.'"

    "So you have a cold sore. I've never had any. I get the ones inside my lip. So, if I kiss you and then do the other thing, what happens? Would anything happen?"

    "Can you hear me? A little bit? A lot"

    Let me just say that at this point, I'm praying that the signal cuts her off. But then...

    "Oh, you can hear me? Okay then..."

    And she just keeps going. This is why I moved away from Long Island.

  13. Hi Theresa,
    Those quotes made me laugh, especially the one about the cold sores. It's funny how people often don't realize that other people can hear them in public.