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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Parallel Play

For a long time, I resisted the siren's call of the iPod. I, who rarely has my cell phone on (mostly because I let it run out of power and forget to recharge it), did not need another palm-sized object to encumber me. Then one day I became aware of a phenomenon that had previously alluded me, the knitting podcast. A broadcast about knitting, something I could listen to while doing other things?! I was intrigued. As those who know me understand, I do not enter into a new hobby or interest lightly; if I decided to make/collect/attempt/experience something, I get all the equipment. I need my props and costumes. (My background is in theater so it makes perfect sense. You should see the pile of "provisions" needed for my little fiber camping adventures. Insanity.) So, I bought the video iPod. And two sets of earphones. And two different iPod cases/skins. And...I am hooked. I spend more time in bed with this thing than I do with the husband. (Make of that what you will, but I listen to it when I am going to sleep which presents its own set of problems: I often fall asleep before I finish listening to whatever I've started; I sometimes get tangled up on the earpiece cords; and I wake up in terrible pain because the over-the-ear-hook is pressing into my skull in a most uncomfortable way.) Still, I love my pod. (I love the husband, too.)

The husband has a Saturday morning ritual: he gets up, showers, reads the paper for a little while, goes out to his favorite neighborhood breakfast joint for a Viking Breakfast (we live in what was once a Swedish neighborhood, and Svea is one of the few Swedish establishments left), and he listens to Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. He works long hours, and I hated to see him get up so early on a Saturday in time to get his morning errands done so that he could get back to the house in time for the Tom and Ray hour of automotive hilarity, so a few years ago I suggested he get a receiver with headphones. He is kind of a low-tech guy, so he went to the local Radio Shack and bought a $15 model that has served him well. What I didn't realize at the time (but I should have) was that, because Car Talk is laugh-out-loud funny and the husband laughs REALLY LOUDLY, he might look like a madman laughing to himself when he was out and about in our little neighborhood. These days, at least he is not alone. There was a time, before earpieces and Bluetooth, when the people talking and laughing to themselves on the street were the ones likely to be in need of some psychiatric assistance; now you have to look for the cords and earclips to see if someone is truly talking to him- or herself or to someone else. (I did recently hear a statistic that said up to 25% of cell phone conversations are not actually conversations at all, but are the "caller" staging the conversation to look important. Hey, you people who do that, you don't look important, you're just adding to the noise pollution! And what ever happened to just being alone with your thoughts; do you really have to talk loudly about your bad date last night in the produce aisle at the Jewel? do?! Huh...)

Now that I have my little pod and he has his Saturday morning radio appointment, we spend a fair part of the morning sitting on our balcony immersed in our own worlds, not speaking, and each of us laughing out of synch with the other. It's a little weird.

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