Summer tales: The case of the missing iPod

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Can you believe we’re already heading into the second half of August? Where did the summer go?

While most people around me were lucky enough to spend the weekend lounging around the pool or heading to the beach, I spent the better of last weekend – as well as the preceding two or thee days – trying to solve a serious crime.

No, no one was murdered or anything that drastic. To put it in terms of something along the lines of Sam Spade or Lew Archer or even the Hardy Boys for that what it’s worth, this was the case of the missing iPod and I wasn’t about to let the summer heat get in the way of solving this mystery.

With my faithful assistant Liam, I tried to piece together all the clues; I tried to remember the last time I used it in the car, I tried to remember the last time I had added anything to my music library. I was able to narrow down the day and even the time of the day were together listening to one of Liam’s requests.

I was sure, with our careful assessment of our collected data, it had to be somewhere in our car. It surely had slipped into that impossible to reach Twilight Zone, no man’s land that exists between your gear shift console and seat and where your seat belt attaches. You know, that place that is impossible to reach but everything always manages to find its way there?

A careful search turned up nothing. Even Liam’s yoga master-like contortions to look under and around both seats couldn’t produce the elusive iPod.

I should mention this up front. Everyone has pieces of technology they rely on and for me, my iPod is something I carry around with me with the same regularity as my wallet. I’m listening to music or podcasts or even audiobooks all the time. It’s absence was startling to me in how I had to now listen to music. I actually had to chose a CD or two to take with us on a ride.

I did laugh a couple times about how spoiled technology has made me as I could clearly recall the unbelievable, space age luxury I felt I had acquired when I first had a car with a CD player.

But back to the mystery…

Each night after Liam went to bed, I’d thoroughly search a few more places certain it had to be somewhere I placed it when rushed or hands loaded with other items, thinking I would remember exactly where it was. I thought something must have gotten placed on top of it and it’d eventually turn up and all would be right again in my music world.

Anyone with kids, knows those trips back from the grocery store with way too many things being carted inside and all sorts of objects like keys, wallets and toys tucked into all kinds of places as you struggle to make it through the door without dropping anything, just before almost everything gets dropped once inside.

Still nothing.

I started to let the first doubts creep into my head. I’d managed to survive a huge music library catastrophe last year when my hard disk imploded – do NOT remind me again about backing things up. My iPod was a blessing in saving a lot of music I lost, but it comes with an asterisk. As you might know, an iPod can store music, but it’s next to impossible to extract music from one. I started to think of all the songs I could potentially lose.

The search continued. The days wore on. I discovered how incredibly boring it is to run on the gym without your own soundtrack. I fell way behind on my BBC5 English soccer podcast updates. Liam constantly shouted out requests from the backseat for songs all on our beloved, missing iPod.

Sunday afternoon, the case turn from a mystery to a crime – an awful, horrific crime.

I headed to secluded spot on the edge of the property where we live, not too far from the spot I usually park my car. It’s a great location I can sit outside and read on a Sunday morning (and yes, listen to my iPod!).

As I approached the bench, I noticed something underneath it. Half of protective plastic shell for an iPod. I felt like one of those people called in to identify a victim in a police show, the ones who refuse to admit it’s really their brother or whoever. No, it had to be someone else’s iPod case. It had to!

I reached down, hands almost shaking. There it was, the crack along the bottom from when I’d dropped it at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.

I wanted to dramatically fall to my knees and dramatically scream “Nooooooo!” and then menacingly say one of those lines Liam Neeson seems to utter in almost every movie he makes like “I will find you, iPod thief…and I will kill you!”

Drained, I sat on the bench and admitted the mystery had come to its conclusion. I didn’t want to admit the day we last used it in the car was also the day I was surprised we’d left the windows down as far as we did. It was also the day we were going to run inside for just a few moments before heading back out. We ended up staying for a couple hours before getting back to the car. But I knew. I knew.

I figured that’s when some music-starved criminal couldn’t resist seeing what albums were on that incredible silver iPod classic that was sitting on the front seat and had served me so well for quite a few years.

So now what? Apple has discontinued production of the great flywheel iPod classic. Earlier this morning a salesperson was baffled as to why I’d want an iPod that only played music.

For me, I guess the mystery now goes in a different direction, what to do next.

Ken Kolasinski’s “On Another Note” column appears periodically in Ticket.



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