September 9, 2010

One of Them

“Tavi, take a look at this,” my dad said, waking me from my airplane slumber with excitement, pointing to an article in the New York Times about Apple products. Normally I take no interest in all that talk, but it was different this time around. For you see -- I have become one of them.

Too loyal to the good ole days when each Tweet was followed by “via web” as opposed to “via some kind of new-fangled Steve Jobs application,” I never planned to posses any of these modern gadgets. Until my sister got a laptop, which came with a free iPod Touch, which went to me. I was immediately converted, and felt pride in the way I could slide the “unlock” button with such ease; the way my “To Do” lists suddenly looked so much more efficient. The pseudo-notebook paper on a screen gave them validity, while real life notebook paper was for people who were amateurs at, well, life. Suddenly, I didn’t just have to buy deodorant. I had to buy deodorant.

These few days were bliss. But a dark cloud settled over my happiness as the Times article went on about the new Touch models. How they were so thin and sleek and could open envelopes. They had built-in microphones, and a million cameras, and, hell, you could probably make an Oscar award-winning movie with the new Touch. It had super powers, which made it possible for you to stalk anyone, ever.

And here I was, with the old one. I opened up my To Do list. I would have to find Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s house on my own.

This didn’t translate to my dad. “Aren’t you pleased with my shopping skills?” he asked, giddy. “We have the new model!”

I didn’t want to break it to him, but it was for his own good. “Dad, we don’t have the new model. It won’t be available for a while. We have the old one.”

His face fell before he began scrambling to find other possible explanations, pointing desperately at the upper left corner of our ancient Touch. “That? Isn’t that a camera? You’re sure?” he begged, as though asking once more would magically transform the device.

But he knew the answer. We both did. That was no camera; that was a useless, tiny black panel. Black, and filled with despair.

Suddenly, my iPod Touch was nothing to be proud of. It was not sleek, nor shiny, and could open no envelopes. Oh, God, I thought in a panic, what’ll I do about all those envelopes? It was a brick; as fat and useless as a Five-Dollar Foot Long. Even the boingy little noises it produced were as irritating as that Subway commercial. I pictured it under my bed, where it belonged and would soon be hidden, next to the first generation iPod Shuffle.

“Oh, that? You can have it if you want,” a friend of mine said back in fifth grade.

“Really?” I barely breathed.

“Yeah, it’s cool. Everyone in my family already owns an iPod. And I won it at some Bar Mitzvah.”

I fell in love with my new iPod Shuffle. Sure, it had no screen. And sure, it held approximately four songs. But that didn’t matter. It was an iPod. It was an iPod and it hung on a little iPod lanyard around my neck. I was one of them.

But as I would soon learn, a Shuffle could gain me no credibility. “It doesn’t even have a screen,” my friends would say, ticking away at their Nanos, trying to decide between Cheetah Girls and High School Musical. Indeed, I was definitely not one of them.

And the Touch situation was just the same. Distressed and unable to handle any more suffering, I began curling back into fetal position to sleep when I spotted a red hard candy on the floor in front of me. Hours earlier, I got it out of my backpack, dropped it, and just could not find it again. I had probably spent half of the eight-hour flight searching. And now, here it was, lodged in between the wall and the foot of the person in front of me.

Know what probably could’ve found it earlier?

The new iPod Touch.

My dad and I got off the plane soon thereafter. We got our luggage. We dragged our feet. We told the guy at customs we had a good time, but what did we know? We were no new iPod Touches.

“What’s that smell?” I asked my dad as we sat in silence on the EL train coming home. Then I remembered. I glanced at my To Do list. I no longer had to buy deodorant. I just...had to buy deodorant.