Friday, June 01, 2007

Karma bottleneck

I can't believe how buried I've been recently. Couped up. Recoiled. Tucked away.

I think things went south at the beginning of March.

I went away on a business trip for a full week. The flight down wasn't direct, so it was broken up into two small uneventful flights which would make a normal 90 minute direct flight about 6 hours long. On the second leg of the trip, I was tucked in the very back of the plane (did I mention my employer was paying for the trip, we seem to always get the crappiest seats at the last minute deals). On the decent, I was listening to a podcast on my first iPod. The whole podcast experience was significant because my iPod was still very new and you know how us guys get with our new toys, we fall into a ritual with them that seems to define who we are at that time. While they eventually lose their appeal and just become elements of the grind, my iPod was different: It's prototypical of this decade, an extension of yourself in musical form. In that sense, I was very caught up in it.

The odd thing is -- somehow, iPods crash planes -- or at least that's how the flight attendants make it seem, because they want you to turn it off while they descend. I comply, but keep my cherished iPod close at hand by winding up the headphones and setting it into my lap. After a few long solitary seconds, I switch to the book I brought in my carry on.

When we land, it's six hours into my 90 minute flight, and in my haste, I quickly pack up and get off the plane. I'm just worn out. It's not until I'm in the rental car 20 minutes later that I think about resuming my podcast. Since I'm in a strange city on my own in the middle of the night, my attention is focused on getting to the hotel, but in the back of my mind I can't place what I did with my iPod: it's either in my bag or in my jacket even though I don't recall putting it away.

When I arrive at the hotel, I check my jacket pockets as I walk toward the front lobby. It's strange that it's not there, so it must be in the carry on though that seems really "off" somehow. In the back of my mind, I begin to imagine what my wife would do to me when I tell her I lost the Christmas gift she bought me. Chuckle. Let's hope not.

I check-in.
I jump in the elevator. I pat down my carry on.
Yeah, that's not, ...uh, ...not good.

I get to my room and I quickly empty my pockets and check my carry on.
I open all the bizarre pockets that I never use.
I empty the carry-on and shake it.


Yeah, screwed.

I call the airport, and get through to Lost and Found. My flight was the last flight for the night. My iPod is probably sitting on the floor, on the seat, or tucked between the seats of the 9:35pm Delta flight from Cincinnati to Richmond. Although it's only been 40 minutes from the flight, it's gone. Translation: "The white one with no scratches or identifiable marks? Yeah, it's going for $15 on eBay right now"

Somehow, this event has caused a ripple effect in what I envisioned this year to be. The choices between carrying-cases that my wife wanted, the iPod dock in the living room, the new iMac that would house my iTunes library -- all of these decisions, interrupted and sidelined indefinitely.

Instead of moving forward, I seemed plagued with indecisions of either buying a new one, or finding a cheaper one, or buying a stolen one from eBay. All these crazy thoughts happening simultaneously like a neuron misfire causing bottlenecks all the way down the line. In the event, an extension of myself was lost, and it was as though I accepted defeat and stopped making decisions. Coupled with the onslaught of spring-cleaning and never-ending hunny-do-lists, it was though I shut down.

Earlier this week, I managed to get away from the grind. I bought an iPod replacement. I bought an car-charger with FM unit and carrying case. And suddenly, just as summer arrived, so did I.