I own an iPod, but I rarely use it. I can drive 15 hours without the radio in my truck being on. I don’t need music or that type of mental stimulation. I like to sing along with the radio or various music devices, but I wouldn’t say (and those who have worked in the backcountry with me would agree) that I need a radio to sing.
If I get drunk at a party on a few Coors Originals and feel like playing some air guitar or dueting with Matt Hartman the iPod might come out. The music collection on it isn’t eclectic or popular. I got some country, a bit of Bruce Springsteen, some James McMurtry, and some classic rock/metal, as well as some learn spanish lessons. No podcasts or videos or games other than the normal solitaire.
I am not very social. As much as I want to learn about the world and about people and their stories, as much as I want to shape myself from interactions with others, I am no good at making small talk. So I bought the iPod before I traveled to South America and Patagonia for the first time. I don’t speak much or any spanish, so if I looked otherwise engaged I figured that people would ignore me and my lack of language skills would be less obvious.
Someone suggested that if I didn’t want to talk with others that it would be cheaper to just buy some headphones and stick the plug into my pocket, making it look like I was listening to music. That was a good suggestion. I got the device anyway. That was several years ago.
Well I am also a dirtbag. Therefore I travel the dirty dog (i.e. Greyhound) occasionally. I guess it is also less of an ecological impact than a plane, but that is another story. Twice in the last 14 months I have found myself in the bus stations and on the buses of the American southwest. In fact, I sit and write this on a Greyhound partner, Crucero, as I make my way to Tucson to start work. There is nobody in the seat next to me, so the iPod is out of commission, poised in my pocket for the need to look occupied. Poised, if the need be, to drown out conversations of drugs, alcohol, sob stories, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. Stories of who did what to whom, who is to blame. Stories that drift to my ears of kids, another baby on the way, and fucking shit up.
I can’t complain about the schedule inconsistencies or the people or sadness of it all. I choose this means of transportation not because I can’t afford a plane but because I am cheap and because it is less impact. I can’t complain because unlike most others on here, this is not my best option. least ways in the means of affordability. Plus, I own an iPod.