Out of Tune

Dear Unexpected Visitor,

I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you face to face when you stopped by the house earlier. I know how these impulsive visits can be; no one ever seems to be available when you walk up the driveway.

Of course, considering you left the driveway with my wife’s iPod, maybe you weren’t so disappointed after all.

Your timing, I must say, was excellent. By the time I saw the glove compartment ajar and the arm rest open, you were long gone. Since that was the only item missing, I’m guessing you didn’t have a lot of time to linger; cluttered cars are such a pain to search, aren’t they?

Out of curiosity, was it the Stone Age electronics that attracted you, or the old nail polish stains? Heather and I have a bet.

It’s quite an accomplishment, you know. Thirty years ago, it would have taken at least a pickup truck to get away with a few thousand tracks worth of music. Now you can just slip the whole library in your pocket without even thinking about it.

Oh, sorry about the “Desperado” recording, by the way. That Eagles album never really transferred well.

I’ll admit, I was a bit hot when I found you’d been and gone before I could say “Hi.” Or maybe “Hey!” There’s a certain sense of violation involved. And frustration at the time needed to rebuild the collection. And of course, disappointment by Missy, our disabled ward who likes her tunes loud, constant and rapidly changing.

(You don’t know Missy? Nice young lady. Lot of people like her. No, I don’t expect to make introductions any time soon.)

But you know something? You got the raw end of the deal.

What you got was a piece of metal and plastic worth maybe $20, tops. (I mean, an iPod without a touch screen? Come on!) Maybe you got a little bit of puzzlement, too, if you fired it up and discovered meditation rhythms, medieval hymns and the theme to the cartoon “Arthur” among the more conventional tunes.

But Heather, Missy and I – we have the memories.

I still have the vision of Missy cranking the Hallelujah Chorus as far as she could – in July.

I remember the device’s seeming psychic qualities, popping up John Lennon’s “I’m So Tired” on the day after the time change, or Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” in a Graduation Day parking lot.

And since Heather was the one who loaded it all, I could always count on a surprise or two if I hit “random” – though including “Adventure Time” and the Brady Bunch in the mix was really low.

Those are the real treasures.

So yeah, if you want to just bring the iPod back where you found it and set it on the stoop, I’d love it, especially for Missy’s sake. But if your generosity doesn’t extend that far – well, I’m not going to let you hold my mind hostage over it. Just do me a favor and at least crank the tunes before hitting the pawnshop, OK?

May I suggest starting with “Folsom Prison Blues?”