It’s GRAMMY week. I’m trying to decompress before I get on the plane for NY. So, I do what I always do: I go for a run.
Destination? Franklin Canyon. “Poetry Man” is on the radio as I pull into the parking lot. Oooh. That guitar! Phoebe’s voice! And yeah, Memories! But I turn her off. If I dally, I’ll never exit the vehicle.
What to listen to today? I’m perfectly capable of accessing music on my iPhone. I may be a child of vinyl but I’m not an idiot. Also? I know how to work that little thingamabob on the wire (which is, btw, called a “volume dongle”—is there anything there’s not a name for?)
Still, as a digital immigrant—that’s someone who grew up in an analog world—things just don’t come as intuitively for me as they do for my daughter’s generation—digital natives—who were born into this stuff. I’m getting better though. And I‘ve promised myself I’m going to stay on top of it. Because I’m starting to feel like if I don’t I might fall off the face of the earth.
I set up a playlist in advance of the run. Sometimes it’s a new artist I heard on KCRW. Sometimes it’s an album I listened to way back when. Dog and Butterfly, Boston, Blood on the Tracks.
Way before iTunes was a sparkle in Apple’s eye, if we were 'jonzing' for a new album, we got in our car, headed toward Tower Records, paid the 16.99 (way too much IMO…that’s what inspired Napster), drove back home, ripped off the cellophane and slipped it into the nearest slot. That entire drill could take an hour, 2 days, a week. Now, we can merely think a song and voila. How lucky are we?
Ok. Ready to run. I queue up Broken Social Scene. If my preference changes mid-run it'll be inconvenient to say the least as that entails unvelcro-ing my fanny pack (yes, I wear one), extricating my device, pressing the home button, entering my passcode, (my touch ID has never been responsive), tapping Apple Music, putting a search in the bar, scrolling down…Ugh!
You may ask, “Why not just ‘Hey Siri’ and tell her what to play?” Well, I’m late to the Siri party. I’m not sure I want to join the land of those who are walking around constantly talking at their screens. We’ve stopped talking to each other. That said, I do not want to fall off the face of the earth. So...
Hey Siri! Play “Poetry Man.” Bam. “Home’s that place somewhere you go each day to see your wife.” Wow. It works. Thank you, Siri. Thank you very much. Where have I been? There must be something deep down that doesn’t want it to be that easy. Something that misses the journey. The trip to Tower Records. The anticipation. The foreplay. And at this moment, I reach an epiphany. I have an affliction. I'm a Technology Resistor. Yes I am. I have…T.R.
If I want instant gratification and effortlessly delivered music, I have to stop being so difficult.
Sometimes I go for a run in the woods where I lose connection to wifi or 3G or whatever it is that supplies the oxygen that allows the music to reach my ears. When this happens I have to run in SILENCE. Poo.
Why, you ask, don’t I download music and listen offline? Good question. Not too long ago I consulted a “genius” at the Apple Store about the rumored “merge” issues (you have to “merge” in order to listen offline). He assured me the glitches had been resolved and prompted me to go to settings and tap that “merge.” But that genius wasn’t so smart because when I got home I noticed ALL my music —original, downloaded and purchased—was now combined in one ginormous library. AND there were cloud icons with slashes through them next to song demos which meant they were inaccessible. WHAT? It took Tech Support 3 days to calm me down and un-merge the merge. Stupid Genius!
You may ask, “Why not use Spotify which is on a separate interface”? Well (since you asked), Spotify has been served with several lawsuits for not having licensed songs correctly. Not exactly a songwriter’s sweetheart. And they have a free tier. Apple may deliver music for less than they should but they don’t do “free” (thanks in part to Taylor Swift), which, in my opinion…perpetuates the myth that music has no value.
Now that I’ve embraced the magic of Siri my wish is her command. I unabashedly order her around as I jog along the trail. I’ve lost my virginity and I can’t get enough sex. What was I waiting for? This is great!
There’s a big smile on my face like I’ve got a secret. The only thing is, everyone else knows the secret already. I was the only one who didn't. But not any more.
Driving home my all-access pass continues. Hey Siri! “Play ““Better Things”’ by The Kinks, Play “Benny And The Jets,” Play “Tighter Tighter,” “Is She Really Going Out With Him,” “Alison,” “I Saw The Light,” “Malibu” (the Hole version—sorry, Miley—though I love yours too). SongGasm after SongGasm. I may have a weakness for nostalgia but at least I’m in T.R. recovery.
Suddenly I’m on Beverly Glen. I don’t even remember making the wrong turn! Why am I on Beverly Glen? I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy being a kid in a candy store. Good & Plenty. Hot Tamales. Tootsie Rolls.
All for $9.99 a month?! What a bargain! What other product can you get as much of as you desire…for 10 bucks? Or as little as free? Without the approval of the manufacturer—that would be the songwriter?! Oy, don’t get me started. That’s a whole other blog.
Hey Siri. Play “Better Things”!
P.S. I’ve opted for Siri to speak to me in a British accent. She's way more polite.
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