Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Only Indulgence is Music…Or Manic Mondays

By Robin Kaye

I drive a lot. Yesterday I put over two hundred miles on my car, and when I drive, I listen to my iPod. I have every piece of music I own on there, and I can’t stand the thought of leaving home without it. It’d be like not having a book or my Kindle in my purse. What would I read while standing in a checkout line or while waiting for one of my three kids? What would I do? It would be a huge waste of time, and I despise wasting time.

Last night, I got into my car after driving my daughter to her school (an hour and a half away) and spending the day at my favorite Starbucks. Driving through the deserted parking lot, I pressed the button on my iPod and scrolled through the genres to writing—I was all set to find the perfect RWA workshop to listen to on the drive home. I found one on time management, selected it, and heard the lovely voice of the moderator—and then, it died.

I checked the audio jack. It was secure. I pressed the button again. Nothing. Yeah, we’re talking heart attack central! My iPod had stopped working!

I pulled over (because I never use electronic equipment while driving) and reset it. Still a black screen. Panic crawled up my spine and set up housekeeping in my neck. I pulled out my charger, plugged it in, and waited a moment while I tried some calming self-talk (it didn’t help). After a while I tried another reset, to no avail. I flipped on my blinker, and headed home, thinking it might take a few minutes. Ten minutes later, I stopped at a light and tried again. Not even the flash of my beloved apple insignia. And so it was the entire way home.

I suppose I could have turned on the radio, but I was too busy wondering how I’d survive without my iPod. I tried plotting my next book, it was no use. I can’t plot without music and the thought of listening to the radio left me cold. No one has a mix of music I can tolerate and don’t even get me started on commercials. I haven’t listened to the radio since the day I got my first iPod and have yet to miss it.

I went through nightmare scenarios because at-this-point-in-time, I have a computer to buy for my daughter, Twinkle Toes—a new iPod is not in the budget. Yet, an iPod is essential to my mental health. I drove ninety miles wondering how I’d manage to get a new iPod tomorrow without looking like a bad mother. No, I couldn’t figure it out either. I was all set to go quietly mad while doing the right thing, and purchasing a computer for Twinkle Toes. I usually don’t mind putting everyone’s needs before my own. I’m a grown-up, I’d do just about anything for my kids, but this time… Well, the thought of it wasn’t pretty.

I made the journey home, unplugged my dead iPod and trudged into the house with a heavy heart. I was certain I’d have at least an overnighter in Bellevue before I could figure out how to finagle a new iPod. I plugged my beloved indulgence into the computer and nothing happened so I went to work on a blog I had to post before bed. And then wonder of wonders, the screen of my iPod lit up and warned me not to disconnect it! Yay! Hope blossomed. If I nurtured it, with any luck it would take root. Maybe it would be okay after all. Then that cute little battery symbol popped up with the lightening bolt running through it. All was well in my world. Twinkle Toes gets her computer, I’m not a bad mother, and my mental health is intact.

I’ve learned a few very important lessons. The first of which is—start saving for my next iPod—now. I don’t think I’ll survive another close call like this without knowing I can run right out and replace my security blanket. The second lesson I learned is always charge my iPod. I don’t ever want to drive ninety miles with nothing but obnoxious drivers to abuse my senses.


  1. Lol, Robin, I love it! I felt the same way about my laptop. When it crashed, I realized how dependent I was on it. When my main computer collapsed, I was devastated again. I lose so much every time, despite trying to save everything on flash drives and external hard drives and online drives. I still lose stuff.

    But as to the listening to something while driving--that's when I "read" others' books. I love to listen to audio books on my drive to and from work. When I run out--I'm lost. I have to listen to music. But I want to be immersed in something important--like another world. :) Finding romance. *sigh*

  2. LOL, Robin! I've become the same way while driving in my car (long commute), but I don't have an iPod. I have RWA workshop CDs and a new joy of mine--audio books. My library has tons of them, but, sadly, very few romances. But that's another conversation.

    So glad your iPod didn't die!

  3. Hi Robin. Loved the post. I am equally addicted to my iphone! Thank God for the car charger. I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my car as well and that music keeps me going. I especially addicted to music for my morning runs. I could never get through 3 or 4 miles without it.

  4. Robin, I love it! I know exactly what you mean but my vice is CD's, not an iPod. I write to music. Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson and George Jones have helped me get over a scene speed bump many times.

  5. As soon as I read this, I trotted upstairs to my writing bag, retrieved my iPod, and put it on the charger. Your post reminded me that I'd nearly drained it earlier this morning while I was writing. I would have been SOL tomorrow morning!

    I just experienced a computer melt-down - browser so riddled with viruses, spyware, etc. that I couldn't nurse it along anymore. I finally broke down and scratched the hard drive, reformatting it and reinstalling everything. (I started this task three weeks ago and I'm still cobbling things back together - but to put a fine point on my priorities, I made sure I had 1) a functioning browser, 2) Outlook email and 3) iTunes up and running first. ;-)

  6. Isn't it funny how dependent we've become on technology we couldn't even imagine when we were teenagers? I remember saving up for an enormous stereo system... and now everything fits in a package smaller than a candy bar. I-pods are amazing. And I couldn't live without my laptop!

  7. Good morning!

    @ Terry - I've had Macs for the last 6 years, a desktop and a MacBook Air laptop. No crashes in six years. I'm thrilled. I listen to music when I have kids in the car, when I'm alone, I listen to RWA Workshops because I keep feeling as if I should do more to move my career ahead. I always learn something worthwhile and come up with great ideas.

    @ Tracey - I put my workshop CDs on my iPod along with my 15,000 songs. I try to stay away from audio books because I'd have a real hard time turning them off when I reach my destination.

    @ Sara - I love my iPone too. Unfortunately, I can't fit all my music on it. As it is, I've almost outgrown my iPod.

    @ Carolyn - I have writing playlists on my iPod. Maybe you should give it a try. It's so much easier than juggling CDs!

    @ Tamara - I switched over to Macs for the same reason. No viruses, no problems with spyware, but I have recently invested in MacKeeper just in case.

    @ Joanne - I know how you feel! I'm addicted to my MacBook Air! What I love about SugarSync is that it syncs my computers so when I'm writing, I always have the most recent version on both! It also is another back-up, between that and my Mobile Me, I'm really comfortable with the safety of my work.

  8. Oh, Robin! I feel your pain! It's so hard to drive without music, but my CD player died...well actually it's been holding Peter, Paul & Mary hostage since September--no laughing here people...I seriously love listening to Puff the Magic Dragon and the Cruel War .

    I have an MP3 player that has Garth Brooks, Alabama, etc. most of my favorites on it, and when that little AAA battery dies, I'm done and I only have a 45 minute ride to the office.

    You are not a bad mother, and I'm learning from your experience, too, I'd better start saving up for a new laptop...mine randomly shuts off when it's on battery. YIKES!

    Thanks for a great're on my TBR pile now that I've finished the RITA books. ;) Can't wait to read Yours For the Taking!

  9. ameliagrey@comcast.netMarch 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Cute, cute story, Robin. I love my ipod, too, but never when I'm working! I can't write and listen to music. I find myself humming or singing along rather than thinking about my book. Music is a distraction to me because when i listen to music--I want to listen to music and not have to think about anything but the words or the melody. Great post! I enjoyed it.

  10. My husband needs to travel and he takes his Ipod with him whenever he goes. Like you, every piece of music he has is on that little device and he absolutely adores it.

  11. I totally love my iPod. I have audio books on it, music, podcasts. I can understand your panic!

  12. I felt the same way as my laptop started to die on me because it didn't have enough RAM. I was so distraught. I hate that technology has to be upgraded so fast.

  13. @ C. H. - I'm a huge fan of Puff the Magic Dragon, I used to sing it to my kids all the time, as a matter of fact, Twinkle Toes named her bearded dragon, Puff. Enjoy the books!

    @ Amelia - LOL I can't write without at least one or two things going on. I listen to music, conversations, news and write. The quiet drives me nuts. I think the noise keeps one side of my brain occupied while the other works. I do remember having to study advanced maths

    @ Lil - I've been on the fence about the iPad, between my macbook air, iPhone, Kindle and my iPod, I figure I have all the bases covered...still, they're a blast to play with!

    @ Shana - So glad you can related. I was going nuts!

    @ Stephanie - Tell me about it! A friend of mine got the iPad the day before they announced the second generation. It's like by the time you buy something it's already outdated!

  14. I was the same way when my ipod finally bit the big one. So sad. It lived a good life though. Thankfully I was able to get a new one for Christmas so all is right with the world again.

  15. Isn't it horrible how addicted we get. For me it's my computer (sigh).

  16. Yay! A happy ending. You had me on the edge of my seat, woman.

    I have an iPod that I listen to when I walk (which I've been doing not at all this winter). I usually listen to iTunes on my laptop with ear buds. I do listen to the radio in the car. It's how I find new music. That panicked feeling hits me when my laptop starts acting up. My entire LIFE is on that thing.

  17. I wasn't using my Ipod so I loaned it to my step-niece because her's died, she was only supposed to have it for like 2-3 weeks, which turned into 5 months and when it came back, I got the black screen of death. I was so ticked,couldn't get it to accept a charge at all but before I decided to buy another one, I bought a battery for $30 and even though it was nerve wracking, I changed the battery myself. It worked (which I considered a mini-miracle) and I was able to use it for another 2 years before I got my Ipod Touch. I also realized I needed a backup for my laptop, so I bought one. Now I'm set:)

  18. Whew!! I've had similar experiences. My cell phone locked up on me and then it just shut down. I turned it off and on, and a minute after it rebooted, it locked up again. I was in the middle of playing angry birds too! I just hooked the phone up to the charger and called it a night. I woke up the next morning and the phone worked fine, like nothing ever happened at all.

    Don't you hate technology some days?

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  20. So glad you got your iPod back and working! What a good idea to listen to RWA conference presentations - I would have never thought of that. Very clever!

  21. Great post, Robin. LOL! I don't usually listen to music while writing, but I know the panic you must have felt. I remember the first time I blogged. EVER. My computer died the night before. ACK! I had to use my laptop and log onto mail2web or whatever that site it. It was a pain. Glad your iPod survived :)

  22. I just got an mp3 player, and love it. Heh, I'm a bit behind the curve, I think. :} Great post, Robin!