Monday, November 30, 2009

Further Proof That I'm Retarded

Several months ago I purchased a 2 gig Sansa Clip MP3 player. I bought it for only 20 bucks from Woot! and even though it was listed as refurbished, I wondered at the time what you could possibly refurbish about a little MP3 player no bigger than a cigarette lighter. So I went ahead and ordered it. It arrived in a couple of days and I set about adding songs I had built up in my MP3 collection. At some point that week I took the player to the gym and plugged in my headphones. It seemed that the connection was kind of loose, and the headphones popped out quite easily. Moreover, even when the headphones didn't pop out, the connection frequently broke up and songs would drop out part way through. I found I had to constantly hold on to the player as I walked around the gym, sort of manually holding the headphones in place. Whenever I did certain exercises that were particularly strenuous, I had to put up with the music cutting on and off all the time. This has been going on for months.

I assumed that there was a defect in the player that I bought, a loose connection, but for $20 it did hold hundreds of songs, adding music to the player was ridiculously simple, and quite frankly, I'm not a hard-core music-type person anyway. I rarely wear headphones when I'm traveling in the subway, and even rarer still when I walk down the street. I have always held the position that, especially here in NYC, there is always so much going on, so many hidden surprises, so often the opportunity to experience the unexpected (both good and horrifically bad), wearing headphones and listening to music all the time increases the chances you might miss something. I'm not the first person to notice that many New Yorkers opt to be outside but completely retreated in to their own personal space. Portable video games, DVD players and various Apple gadgets make the people that choose to be very insular. I prefer to mix it all up with the great unwashed.

So my MP3 player use is pretty much limited to the gym and when I am feeling particularly bored on the PATH back and forth to New Jersey. For the most part I found the loose headphone connection to be a minor annoyance, and one I would just put up with.

Flash forward to today, finding me at the gym, where I have been almost every day this week. I have decided that I've become woefully out of shape, I am still about 10 lbs heavier than I want to be, and since my bike is currently down awaiting parts that I can't afford, I have rededicated myself to getting back in to shape before next summer. I had just come near the end of a tough abdominal workout, and I had been frustrated the whole time as the music kept cutting out and the headphones seemed to be popping loose every couple of minutes. I seriously considered taking out the MP3 player and smashing it against the wall. Note to self: Explore out-sized aggression issues.

As I was pacing about between lower ab leg-lifts I had finally become so frustrated, constantly jiggling the headphone jack to find the sweet spot where the music played, that I finally violently jammed the headphone jack in to the MP3 player.

...... Which is when I realized that the headphone jack was never fully inserted in to the connector. As it needed to be. Which made the music, that I had always complained to myself was a tad "tinny", noticeably louder. And fuller. And the headphones weren't loose at all. And no matter which way I twisted and turned they weren't coming undone. And if this story sounds at all familiar it's because I went through a similar situation with a Verizon Chocolate phone a couple of years ago. Apparently, these new-fangled electronics that the kids are using these days plug in differently than I am used to.

So the end of this story is that after almost 6 months of owning the Sansa Clip, I am just now getting around to actually using it the way it was intended. I also need to remind myself on occasion that it has a perfectly good FM radio built in as well. I'm sure it does other things but let's face it, I'll probably never know what they are.

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