The Technology Is Called...

Absolutely true story.

The scene: The bus. Evening rush hour.

One older woman sitting directly in front of me. She seems a little weird, but not in any sort of dangerous-looking way. But when I sat down, I thought for a second that she was going to try to talk to me. Which would've sucked. We'll call her "WW" for "Weird Woman."

Across the row, a young man with an ipod in his hand, earbuds in his ears. (Yes, I like the word "earbuds," it's funny.) We'll call him "IM" for "Ipod Man."

WW: Is that an ipod that you have there?
IM: What? (Taking the earbuds out of his ears) Oh, yeah.
WW: Do you know if those are compatible with PCs?
IM: I think they are.
WW: I thought ipods are for Macs only.
IM: No. I'm pretty sure that they're PC compatible. I mean, I dont' know if this one is, I have a Mac. Maybe they make Mac ipods and PC ipods, but I have friends who have PCs and they have ipods...
WW: No, they probably have MP3 players.
IM: (Finally getting up and walking toward the exit.) "MP3" is what the technology is called. Ipod is one brand of MP3 player. But there are other brands.
WW: No, MP3 is one brand name, MP3s are for PCs. Ipods are for Macs.
IM: Ok, well, nice talking to you. Gotta go! (Getting off the bus.)

Three immediate questions come to mind. First, if she knew SO MUCH about ipods, why did she ask? Just to school him? Second, how much did that guy regret taking his headphones off, rather than just pretending he couldn't hear her? And finally, how many blocks early did he get off the bus just to end the conversation?

Poor guy, I just kept imagining that he walked 20 blocks home in the dark, just because he was dumb enough to take out his earbuds.


  1. I've been the victims of conversations like this before. Some at work, which is even more frustrating. ("Hey, tell me why this isn't working." "It's because you can't do X." "No, I know I can do X." "Uh... well, I think something is also wrong with Y." "No, Y is right. So why isn't it working?" Why did you just waste half an hour of my time?)

  2. it still amazes me that there are people who don't get the general just of an ipod. I had three or four people ask me this christmas about ipods and how they work since they wanted one or to buy one for a family member, but had no concept of what it was or how it works.

  3. I suppose I'm showing my age given that I don't know the difference between the various electronic items at issue. I guess when you get past 30 (I'm 35), and throw kids into the mix, you find that you don't have much time left over to listen to music. Or maybe it's just that peace and quiet outrank music on any given day!

  4. Yes, but I think it's one thing not to understand ipods, or whatever the topic is. That's fine, there are plenty of things I don't understand.

    But, it's a whole 'nuther thing to be a KNOW-IT-ALL about something you don't know ANYTHING about.

  5. I am 33, and have 2 kids, and my iPod is really a favorite possession of mine. I have listened to no less than 30 novels on it, as well as a few cute little commentary-type books (Dude, Where's My Country!). I then discovered podcasts, and while underground commuting to work or school, I can listen to On The Media, or perhaps a few choice stories from Slate. And while studying, I can listen to classical music which works nicely to block out the chatter of those young 'uns who don't know how to study in the library, but rather use such facilities for things like giggling over boys and talking on and on about how snotty so-and-so was during Tax.

  6. I heart my Ipod (and I'm over 30!) but now I love my Sirius radio too.