a distressingly disappearing iPod

I returned to the car after a brief survey of my immediate environment, a mere hundred yards or so.  Yes, it’d do, I had surmised.  Plenty of walking potential.  I’d grab the iPod, pay for parking and set off on an improvised wander.  Where was my iPod then?  I’d just clicked it off after putting my boots on.  It’d been playing one of the Guardian Weekly Film Review podcasts, fairly entertaining.  It’d been playing while I laced my boots from the driver’s seat.

Where was it then?  Under the map?  Under my scarf?  Down in the passenger footwell?  Can’t have gone far.  Under the seat, wedged in by the handbrake?  Where the.. f-?  Dropped in the bag, slipped down the side?  On the ground just outside?  I didn’t have it on me when I went for my preliminary mooch and it dropped out somehow?  Doubt it, but..  I retraced my steps and returned to the vehicle, getting nervous and angry and whiney.  Just like my father throwing a frightening temper tantrum.  Where the fuck was the fucking thing?  Under here?  No I checked there already.  Under the seats?  An undignified wiggle along the back seat footwells.  On all fours for a scour under the whole vehicle?  Nothing.  Please not again.  After drowning my first iPod 4G a couple of months ago, this was an insurance one.  Perhaps God didn’t want me to have an iPod 4G.  Or to be happy in any way whatsoever.

Still I squinted and pushed and pulled and tore the contents of my car upside down, even looking in a plastic bag of muddy football boots which lived in the boot, although I knew I’d taken the device nowhere near the boot.  No!  It was JUST HERE!  I was just playing it a few seconds ago!  How could it have possibly gone?  Where?  I was distressed and angry and upset.  iPods are like my children; I really loved this one because it could do so much.  I invested serious time educating it with content: podcasts, music, pictures and videos, audio files and notes and games and books and weird miscellaneous apps.  It contained everything I used to while away my existence, day-to-day.  I was weirdly proud of it and always paranoid about it getting nicked so it barely ever left my side.

Now: poof!  Disappeared in a puff of fucking smoke.  Gone.  Fuck you.

Ok cheers, thanks for that.  The only possible explanation you can think of is that it did drop when you left first time.  And someone from another group parked there, on their way to or from their vehicle, pocketed it.  The cunt.

Being you, when something like this happens you inflate it so it becomes symbolic of how life seems to fuck you over when you’re not expecting it, when you’ve dared to cultivate a delicate optimism.  How it reaches over and back-hands you across the face, pissing itself laughing.  You think perhaps you should never try to do anything like this, though you didn’t think this was all that ambitious or optimistic really.  You think you should just stay home on grey Sunday afternoons and not risk doing anything because it’s safer.  Gremlins can’t get at you.

My original plan was to arc my drive home back via another valley, but fuck that now.  My sense of calm and peace and zen-like cultural absorption was shattered and reduced to a cancerous rubble.   Instead I drove home the way I’d come, as quickly as possible and in stony silence, angry and bitter and careless.  Halfway back I chanced the radio, something soothing, Classic FM.  Because, come on really: it’s just a bloody iPod.  Not the end of the world.   Calm down to some nice..  the presenter’s smug voice piped out: Alex James of Blur.  God he’s an unbearable prick.  I clicked it off immediately and accelerated past a dozy Citroen.


I bitterly sulked like a child for most of the following evening, discomforted too by an increasingly painful lower back, jarred playing football the day before.

On waking the next day I resolved to find the telephone number for the country park and ask if anything had been handed in.  Why hadn’t I gone straight to the park reception when I was there?  It would have been open.  Raking the contents of my car and the ground immediately outside, stress had dwarfed the rational pocket of my brain.  Panic, anger and bitterness had reigned.  “Just go and ask at reception, you idiot!” I needed someone to say.   In the same way someone could have said: “look, there’s no telling how high those waves crossing the causeway actually are.  I’m not getting wet.  How about we just wait here on the island and use a mobile phone to call the sea rescue services?”

When I used to attend job interviews, the “how do you handle pressure?” question always made me smile inside.  I swear and panic don’t think at all clearly and go quite red.  That would be the truthful answer I never gave.

Under duress of a certain kind my brain apparently flips out, allowing the strength of impulsive emotion to dominate.  It concerns me how like my father this is, when I see and feel his worrisome genes so clearly in mine: it’s just one of the reasons why my father scares me, as discussed here before.  At least my tantrums affect only me and I inflict them on nobody else.

But it mightn’t be all too rare amongst men generally.  We need a calm, rational, usually female counterpoint to tell us when we’re being complete idiots.  It’s part of any good, strong partnership.   Probably.

I reported my iPod missing and received a call back half an hour later.  Yes, an amiable sounding Welshman said, an iPod matching my description was found and handed in yesterday afternoon.



One Response to a distressingly disappearing iPod

  1. Blonde says:

    That’s annoying… Sure you’ve not pocketed it and forgotten about it? (Yes, sounds daft, but is precisely the sort of thing I do.)

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