It began this morning. I laced up my running shoes, stretched half-heartedly, and reached for my iPod, just as I'd done every day for lo these many years, although until a couple of years ago the earphones connected to my iPod Classic had been connected to a Sony Walkman. The sky was gray; it was windy and kind of cool, but it was dry as—supply your own cliché. Dry, however, is the operative term, here. Keep it in mind. It is not merely a bit of gratuitous description. To continue: I tuned the iPod to the audio podcast of last night's Countdown. I stepped outside, and I began to jog. Slow and steady is my mantra. Steady and slow for an hour or so: there is poetry in it.
About a half an hour later (Countdown has just passed through the third of its stories) it begins to drizzle. Since neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night has ever (not often, at any rate) stayed me from my appointed jog, a little spray is at worst an annoyance, certainly no reason to curtail a morning's exercise. I continue running. It continues to drizzle. Countdown ends. I pull out my iPod, which is sitting in my jacket pocket, and dial up KCRW's Morning Becomes Electric which has The Decemberists in the studio. When they begin their second song, the drizzle turns to rain, and by the end, the rain turns to pour. I make for home. The pour turns to cats and then dogs, and then cats and dogs. The Decemberists are still singing when I finally get home. I drop my clothes in a puddle on the floor of the laundry room, dry off, and head for the coffee maker. The Decemberists finish their last song while the coffee is brewing. I dial up Tony Kornheiser for a little sports talk.
It is then that disaster strikes. Silence. There isn't a sound to be heard. Tony is mute. The iPod is frozen. I toggle the hold switch. I get the logo. I press the menu and select. A few seconds elapse: I wait. And then it appears: a large red circle with a large red 'X.' This cannot be good, I tell myself, as I race to my laptop to get to Apple support. Sure enough there is help. If the red circled 'X' appears, first step is to put the iPod into Disk Mode as described in support document 93651. Now, without going into all the lurid details, support document 93651's instructions don't work. I follow them, but all I get is the big red 'X.' I try again, red 'X' again, and again, and. . . . You get the idea.
Thankfully Apple has an 800 number and after only about ten minutes on hold I get to speak to tech support. In this case tech support is a pleasant young lady whose name I forget, and she wants to know the serial number of my iPod, a serial number that I have neglected to make note of. It's on the back of the iPod, the helpful young lady explains. If it is, I explain in return, I can't make it out. There's nothing on the back of this iPod. She can tell from my tone that I am becoming a mite agitated. Tell me the problem, she soothes, obviously used to handling distressed iPod owners. More or less lucidly, I explain. I got drenched in the rain. My iPod was in my pocket.
"Did it get wet?" she asks.
"Possibly," I equivocate.
Wrong answer: "Water damage voids the warranty," she says. "Put in the ear pod jack, if the strip turns pink—"
"If the strip on the jack turns pink there's water damage."
Obviously, I've got a problem. "If there's water damage, then what?"
"Then what" turns out to be a replacement at the cost of something in the neighborhood of $120. I can take it down to an Apple Store if there happens to be one nearby. The techies there will check it and let me know whether or not there is any water damage. If there isn't, they'll fix it up. If there is, well, $120 is cheap to feed an iPod habit.
She makes me an appointment for three o'clock this afternoon. After all, we don't want to risk iPod withdrawal. Meanwhile I charge up an old iPod Mini, I still keep on hand just in case of emergency.