Six years ago for Christmas 2005, my parents gave me a 30 GB iPod. The bigexcitingnew Apple thing at that moment was video for iPods--I remember my mind being blown by the thought of me being able to watch music videos and look at photos on my iPod. OH TECHNOLOGY AND THE WAY YOU CHANGE. I was thrilled and excited to have the newest/greatest/latest thing, but honestly never would have guessed my new gift would last more than a couple of years.
Ralph, as I rather arbitrarily named him, has been my constant companion now for SIX years, making him the longest living iPod I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I remember shuffling to class with him in hand in Oklahoma...taking him with me to McFarlain Library at Tulsa to help me pound out papers on Ralph Ellison and Malcolm X in the middle of the night. He aided/abetted my Elliott Smith/Modest Mouse/Neutral Milk Hotel/Gang of Four addictions in college, and dealt patiently with my rather unfortunate obsessions with Bloc Party, Death Cab for Cutie, and Mariah Carey.
I have probably listened to this song 500 times on Ralph over the last six years.
Ralph plugged into my stereo system of my VW Cabrio convertible and provided me with the soundtrack to dozens of road trips across the Midwest. My tastes got weirder and I got more into stuff like M.I.A., which I remember blasting from my car stereo while driving around Tulsa in the summer:
Then I went to Ghana, where I officially lost all of my indie-hipster pretension and completely embraced my love of all kinds of music after hearing songs like this:
Every since Ghana, my musical tastes have been all over the map: rock, hip-hop, pop, and most recently, a slight dance/house/electro phase:
These last three videos are the last three songs I listened to on Ralph, as I remember. Tragically, about a month ago I carelessly plopped Ralph into the cup holder on the treadmill I was on at the gym, only to discover about five minutes later that the cup holder was full of water which was SLOWLY LEAKING INTO RALPH AND DESTROYING HIM NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. His battery hasn't been working properly ever since, and in the last week or so, he has simply quit working.
The screen of death/Ralph's last words
Ralph has been to Africa, Europe, Asia, and all over America with me. He has gone on elephant safaris, subway rides around Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul, canoeing trips through Ghanaian mandrake forests, countless plane trips, on train rides across France and Spain. He has been through Death Valley and to the top of the Empire State Building, to Vegas and Dallas and San Fransisco and St. Louis. He kept me company when I was working in the woods in Colorado and living in a shack in Mississippi. He has been my constant workout/running buddy. I've listened to him and cried, I've listened to him and laughed, and I am honestly heartbroken to lose him. But. A new, shiny iPod Touch is on its way to me, and I can only hope I will take it to as many places as I took my old, dear friend Ralph to. I'LL MISS YOU BUDDY TT