I hear crickets and trains outside my apartment every night. If I were the kid in August Rush, I would say I could hear their symphonies flowing through space in complete union with nature’s rhythms. But I’m not, so I just say they remind me of camping.
And though it is rather musical, there are some nights when it’s… just… too much. I need a little man-made sound (ok, other than the trains) to get me through the dishwashing and other chores. I have relied on the radio and its meager offerings, or on my poor overheating laptop’s iTunes, to get me through the almost-silent nights. (If it were winter, I could say they were Silent Nights, but that’s a phrase reserved for Christmastime.)
That is, I’ve relied on such 1990’s technology… until now.
I purchased a prettiful dandy old iPhone from my old college roommate about two weeks ago. It’s marvelous and wonderful and splendiferous even though it doesn’t make calls. What it does do is get wi-fi Internet whenever I’m in range of a wireless signal, and it will play music even if it’s not on the Internet.
Oh, yeah. Also it’s my first mp3 device. Can you believe I made it 21 and a half years without getting a pair of white wired implants in my head?
But these odd things called apps… I’ve never had a music player that would do anything besides tell the time. This little iPod might as well sprout rockets and fly, it’s just that cool. And it’s all because of the apps.
My cousin told me about an app that turns your iPod into a lightsaber. Yep, just like in Star Wars, and you can even change the color of the blade. Blade? That thing of light probably is called a blade… or maybe a beam. Anyway, I got that one and we had fun waving and jerking this little device around and listening to it make those odd “PYEW!” noises. Actually the app sounded a little more like a laser gun than a lightsaber, but no biggie.
Watching grown relatives giggle like giddy children while waving a small rectangular object was worth downloading that app.
Another app that I will probably never actually need is the Free Graphing Calculator. Well, if I ever get around to taking that statistics class I might need it. I never took stats in college, but sometimes I feel like a journalist should know a fair amount about statistics. All I remember is whatever I learned in the middle of high school—you know, the means, medians, modes and “man, I wish I were outside….”
I imagine walking into a stats class and getting blank stares from all the other students. “You don’t have to be here? What are you, some kind of freak?” Why yes, thank you for noticing. Now I’ll take this chair behind you and laugh at your doodles of the prof dressed as a Klingon. I will even laugh at the most convenient times, say, after the prof has just recited a formula filled with constants and variables and who knows what else. I’m sure our professor will understand my amusement.
Of course I also downloaded the nerdy apps—an English dictionary, a Spanish-English dictionary, the Lite version of Sporcle and the Atlantic Monthly mobile magazine, to name a few. As I write, I’m also reading an article about equine job coaches. Apparently horses are so instinctual they can actually teach you a thing or two about leadership on the job. Information brought to you by yours truly, thanks to a little iPhone app. No extra charge (the app was free too).
But while enjoying all these apps, I realized after a time that I hadn’t actually used the thing for its original purpose… playing music to my ears. Not to worry: I’ve been frequently plugged in since that realization.
Have you ever tried laying out a newspaper page while listening, unbeknownst to your co-workers, to random Spanish pop music? Oh no, I’d never do that. Not in a million years. It was just a question.