Column: Walking with a WalkmanI’m an unabashed fan of the dollar store. I relish strange generic items in flimsy packaging. I am thrilled about buying headphones for my Walkman at the dollar store because I go through a pair or two a month. I have a habit of getting the headphone cord caught on stuff while I’m at the gym, like the handle of the treadmill, the seat of the stationary bike or my own elbow.
By: Mary Lebens, The Farmington Independent
I’m an unabashed fan of the dollar store. I relish strange generic items in flimsy packaging. I am thrilled about buying headphones for my Walkman at the dollar store because I go through a pair or two a month. I have a habit of getting the headphone cord caught on stuff while I’m at the gym, like the handle of the treadmill, the seat of the stationary bike or my own elbow.
There are cameras everywhere at my gym. In general, the cameras make me feel safe, but they also make me feel forlorn and embarrassed at my inability to coordinate my body movements when using a Walkman. I’m sure the gym owners could assemble a bloopers reel 10 minutes long of me catching the headphone cord, ripping the cord out of my Walkman, and chasing my Walkman as it falls off my waistband and skitters across the floor. The Walkman appears to be indestructible, as it has outlasted three jobs and three gym memberships. The headphones, sadly, are not. I hate it when I catch the headphones, rip out the cord, and have to finish an hour-long workout with only one ear bud playing music.
Sev-eral months ago I won an iPod Touch in a contest at my credit union. My husband kindly bought me a workout armband for my iPod Touch but I haven’t used it yet. I’m too scared to bring it to the gym. I don’t trust the durability of this device. It looks shiny, sleek and fragile. Not to knock Apple, but the iPod does not look like it could bounce off a moving treadmill, shoot across the room, ricochet off an abdominal exercise machine and still turn on.
The Walkman is admittedly an ancient music device, but its durability is unquestionable. There are no apps for my Walkman. I turn it on, tune it to Power 96 from Faribault, and listen.
I wonder if Walkman’s failure to keep their market share is somewhat due to their durability. Once you own one, you don’t apparently need to ever buy another. I can’t imagine that anyone out there abuses this device more than me, and yet mine has lasted years. I used to ride the bus to work, so in addition to all the abuse my poor Walkman has endured at the gym, it’s been plopped into puddles at the bus stop and bounced off the pavement of the park and ride lot.
One time the Walkman flew off my belt while I was running across Nicollet Avenue to catch my bus. As it skittered through the crosswalk, a nimble homeless lady tried to grab it. I dove for it, my fingers closing on the black plastic case just before hers. She yelled something indecipherable at me. I still made the bus.
When I settled into my seat, I popped in a pair of dollar store ear buds, pushed the on button, and closed my eyes. The sounds of Metallica’s hit “Nothing Else Matters” washed over me. There is nothing better after escaping an uncomfortable situation than some relaxing, light heavy metal. I felt grateful to have my wonderful Walkman, a current bus pass and a warm home waiting for me in Farmington.