Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Life In Your Hand

I was at the YMCA the other morning, doing the health ritual, but mostly I was just sucking up the endless hot water in the showers and the steam room. When I got there, I did the usual empty locker hunt and found one that suited my needs. While packing my clothes into the locker I noticed something hanging down from the second small shelf. It was an ear-bud. I followed the cord up to the shelf and there sat an iPod. The previous locker resident must have left it there.

I took it out and looked it over. It was a newer model, black with a little leather case and the earphones still attached. It was a 60 gigabyte version which retails for about $249. Since I am an experienced iPod user, I powered the little sucker up, curious to see what was on it.

The owner wasn't a neophyte iPod user either. He had about 10 hours of music downloaded to it. The hard drive was about 1/8 full. He didn't have any videos on it and I didn't bother checking his contact / address list.

I knew I would return it, but for a moment, the lesser angels of my nature sort of played with my head. If I kept it;

a) I could listen to all his music and see if there was anything good that I might want to download for myself.

b) If there were contacts on to it, I could rummage through them and try and figure out who they were. Maybe the last owner was a pimp or a drug dealer?

c) I knew that I could listen to it and recharge it all I wanted, but I couldn't dock it to my computer at home. Docking the 'pod' would reformat it and erase everything on it.

d) I could hock it on ebay....and make an easy $150 in the anonymity of the worldwide marketplace.

After pondering all the possibilities, I knew it was best to pay it forward. If it had been my iPod, I sure would have wanted it back. Besides, I have an iPod and don't need another and I didn't want to take a step closer to being just another opportunistic common criminal.

As I walked the wayward Pod back to the front desk, I felt an odd sense of power in my hands. There, in so much metal, silicon and plastic, I held a portion of a man's life. More personal than his wallet. In that little case I held some of what he was, his desires and the things that made him happy and made him dream. If someone stole my iPod and listened to what was on it, what would they think of me? Would they be curious? Would they try and figure out who I was? Probably not.....their loss.

For more of my ramblings about life with an i-Pod, check out the blog iPod Experiment.