This week I happened to be in Palo Alto for a soiree the ever-radiant Susan Mernit threw for a British journalist with a hippie-child kind-of-name (Jemimina or something from the drug-induced). We were early, so my clients and I slipped into the Apple store on University Ave. to check our email. Soon, we were listening to music on various iterations of the iPod, when a young man asked me if I wanted anything.
"I'll have this," I said, pointing to a silverish green nano. "With 8 gigs, please," as if I were ordering a latte instead of a $200 listening and content storage device. I have never bought a miniature music listening device, let alone any Macintosh electronics, so this step was revolutionary for me.
My father was a conductor and objected to our buying a stereo because he said it broke up the sound artificially. I didn't buy a CD player until a few years ago because I grew used to the one in my former car. For music, I made my own or listened to friends or went to concerts. I considered any other form of listening to music profane.
Last year, I read that our San Francisco Symphony musical director, Michael Tilson Thomas, had an iPod and listened to rock while exercising. Then I started to notice on BART the looks of ecstasy or insouciance on the faces of people whose ears were hooked to sounds other than the cacophonous screech of metal on metal.
The tipping point was how easy it was to use the device with my fingers. Deflowering my first iPod took far less effort than unwrapping the cellophane chastity belt on a CD.
Last night, Dave Winer loaded me up with some great rock and roll songs, and said, "Welcome to the 21st century."
Walking through the hills today, my ears became speakers, one bass, one treble, while the back of my head swelled into an orchestra. Colors popped out psychedelically and I felt more alive and aware of the world than cocooned into my own world, as I had mistakenly presumed. Flooding one sense -- the ears -- seems to stimulate the others.
Like Eve, I've bitten into the Apple. And since I gave the store clerk my email address to send a receipt, I suppose a Macintosh cannot be far away.