2001, my first thanksgiving sale in the US. (The event itself was something else, worthy of a post of it's own). I decided to indulge in an mp3 player- it was a luxury for me. I didn't go running or travel long distance, I didn't like carrying any extra stuff to the gym, given my tendency for losing anything and everything...So basically, I had no use for an mp3 player, but bought it nevertheless, pure indulgence. In those days fancy iPODs and iRivers had yet to become the in-thing. So here was my $30 gizmo, it played mp3s, you could program it to replay some songs on the loop, create playlists, etc. etc. Fun it was.
It served me well for the past 5 years. Soon I bought a car-cassette adapter for it, and when I bought my second car, it became the official car-music player. A set of rechargeable batteries, and a battery charger, and I was all set.
My bus ride to the lab everyday takes all of 15 mins or less. I usually occupy myself with a book, or my "to-do" list in this time...but there are times when I am overwhelmed or stressed, and want to simply close my eyes and listen to a song- to cheer me up or drive all other thoughts out of the head. Other times I feel the need to have some music plugged in simply to drown out these loud voices on the bus. So, for times like these, I decided to bring my mp3 player out of the car and carry it to school everyday.
Here starts the trauma. While other folks on the bus have these nice sleek i-pods with colour-coordinated earphones, jackets and what-have-yous tucked in their pocket, or one of those tiny gizmos hanging by a cord around their neck, mine is er. just a bit bulky for that. So either I have to carry it, and make a spectacle out of it, or just hide it's ungainly self in my backpack. When I come to a song i want to fast-forward or replay, I look around to see if anyone's looking first. Then I stealthily draw into the back pack, and fumble around the buttons to fast-foward the song. Often, in my hurry to not be noticed, I end up skipping the song I wanted to replay and vice-versa. Sometimes all that tugging and pushing also creates "loose contact". Now I have to actually pull out this offensive, embarrassing contraption, so I can stick the cord back in, and play the song I want to listen to. Five years of wear and tear, and the door won't shut- so it also needs a little affectionate tap once in a while- until I came up with the good ol' rubber-band as the permanent solution for that. One time I had to pull it out in clear view to fiddle with it, and the person sitting next to me stared down - eyes popping out- first at this "thing" in my hands, and then at me- like I had pulled out a bomb or something. I hurriedly stuffed the damn thing back into the bag, and got off at the next stop, even though it was not my stop. The guy actually looked scared, he jumped out of the seat to make way for me, afraid of making any contact. I walked to the lab, head bowed and red-faced, vowing to never take the damn thing on the bus again.
Here's a picture of the damn thing. I now stick to looking out of the window on the bus.