When it comes to technology we all have a style. Some are tastemakers and early adopters, the ones who bought iPods back in 2001 and listened to Fun. way before “We Are Young” hit the airwaves (and will never let you forget it). The masses usually catch on soon after, but there are also the stubborn ones like me.
You know who we are, the ones who are ever so slightly behind the times, who hold onto things a bit too long. This isn’t hipster kids going back to records because they’re cool. It’s also not the grandma who watches VHS tapes and has no idea how to navigate the internet. This is a twenty-something who still has a flip phone three years after most of her friends got iPhones and continues to subscribe to Netflix for the DVD’s.
Now that you know a little bit about the kind of technological dweeb I am, allow me to wax nostalgic about my good old Walkman disc player. Received as a present when I graduated from elementary school, I fell in love at first sight. This sleek, sunshine colored device was a step up from my dinky portable radio that I listened to on the way to school and soon I was strolling around the neighborhood with my new toy nestled in a little denim purse strapped across my chest. After exhausting my parents’ classics, I started building a CD collection for myself, developing a broad musical palate including Bach, Destiny’s Child, Evanescence, Aerosmith and more. Next came burning disks on my computer and trading albums with friends. I still remember the Simple Plan album my crush made for me on Valentine’s Day and listening to the Spiderman 2 Soundtrack (my favorite) over and over on long car rides.
By high school the player was a bit worn, but still beloved. Some of my more well-off friends had fancy new MP3 players, yet I never felt the slight bit jealous. “Who needs more than ten songs at a time, anyway?” I thought, looking down on their yuppy sensibilities. But one fateful Christmas the fates decided for me.
I remember opening the iPod Shuffle my parents bought for me and feeling conflicted. It was shiny and new and I was curious about it, but it was also threatening. It stayed in my room, untouched, until I finally decided to download iTunes. At first I only used it to burn my own mixes that I continued to enjoy on my Walkman (yes, I really was that ornery), but eventually I gave in. These days, I’m still a bit behind the times; instead of streaming music I generally listen to my own, well-worn playlists. And I suppose that’s as it should be. That’s what my Walkman taught me, that nothing sounds better than music you’ve lovingly collected yourself.
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