I'm scared of my iPod.
Right now its lying in bed beside me, curled up in its little complimentary leatherette case. I imagine it is hoping I'll take it out for a spin, but instead, I've been online, ordering a lime green iSkin for it and an adaptor so I can charge it when I'm in Ireland. (Did I tell you I'm going to Ireland? I'm going to Ireland.) See, I KNOW how to order things online. I KNOW how to dress something up. I even KNOW how to plug things in. But I'm not all together sure how to use the thing yet. Last night I couldn't figure out how to turn it off. I have no idea what the 'hold' button is for, but get the impression that it is important. Today's concern is that I don't know how to organize the music the IT guy at school downloaded (uploaded?) for me. I'm afraid I'll do it wrong. I'm afraid some really cool guy--probably a 17 year old in a letter jacket--will see my iPod and sneer because I have Sinead Lohan's music under "Sinead Lohan" instead of under "Irish Pop" or "Road Trip" or whatever other playlist would be appropriate. (Never mind that he'd already be sneering because I have a Sinead of any sort in there.)
There are two critics who live in my brain: one is a 40something writer--Gore Vidal in younger days, perhaps, John Iriving in his wrestling duds--and the other is the abovementioned 17 year old boy. The boy's name is something like "Kip" or "Chet" and he makes fun of me for a variety of reasons including my inability to realize that I'm a square, my ineptness on the stairmaster at the gym I visit once a month when I'm not too tired, the way I shush him and his buddies when they talk during a lecture, the width of my ass, and so on. Gore Vidal/John Updike has a much narrower genre of items he can sneer at, but for Kip, it's all fair game.
I hate Kip.
Aside from my iPod ineptness, I'm a little uptight about three "assembalges" (read: junk in a black shadow box) I entered in the women's art show where I teach. I like them. They please me. Yet I don't so much like that other people are looking at them (or not looking at them). A co-worker friend reported that another co-worker I don't know very well is concerned about me because there are babies in all three of the pieces. She's afraid my being of a certain age and childless is a problem for me. She wonders why I don't invest in some invitro and have a baby on my own because everybody knows babies don't need daddies. The childless Mary Cassatt spends her entire artistic career painting children she doesn't have and is considered genius (for a woman), but I throw some 99 cent plastic babies in a Martha Stewart party favor tin and I need either psychoanalysis or a turkey baster. See, that kind of thing makes me feel a little too vulnerable. It's just a matter of time before Kip walks through the hall and jostles one of the boxes off the wall with his big football player shoulder...a matter of time before Gore Vidal/John Iriving saunters through and says dismissively, "Crafty."
I hate Gore/John too while we're at it.
So anyhow, I'm thinking that once I master the fine art of iPod-ing that I'll compile a playlist of songs for my inner critics. For Kip, possibly the soundtrack to "Everybody's All American" with movie stills of a bloated Dennis Quaid at his 20 year reunion flashing on my little video screen. For Gore/John, a host of feminist rants starting with "You're So Vain" and ending with something dismissive and Shirley Manson inspired.
Tonight, I will let the iPod sleep in bed with me. All the manuals say not to do this, that the iPod will cease to recognize me as master if I let it think it is on the same level as me. But I plan to run an iPod-centered household and don't want it to grow up with a complex, thinking it is subordinate to me.