Songs in my heart or on an iPod?

Sometimes you don't need an iPod to enjoy the best music.

I perpetually have songs in my heart – hummable hymns in my throat and improvisational jazz vocals à la Ella Fitzgerald on my lips.

Alas, these locations no longer suffice.

Am I the only one who doesn't have 500 favorite songs on an electronic device the size of a pack of gum? Please tell me I'm not alone.

I must be iPod-ed to join the 21st century, according to Emma, my beloved 12-year-old goddaughter and technology guru.

Emma has a gleam in her eye and spouts attributes I hadn't considered. "Music is just the beginning," she says. "You can download videos, TV shows, audiobooks, and podcasts."

Oh, goody, podcasts. Reminder to self: Find out what a podcast is.

"And, Gabba (my godmom name), it's great for working out," she assures me.

I wonder how picking up a five-ounce sliver of technology will help me get in shape. Oh, I'm supposed to take my song-enriched little buddy, plug myself in, and jog around the park, barely noticing my huffing and puffing thanks to the distractions flooding my ears.

How in the world can I live without this contraption?

I decide to lose my musical high-tech innocence and join the cheery band of entertainment aficionados who are literally plugged in and turned on (in a tuneful fashion) at every moment.

For all I know, everyone else nods off into dreamland with iPod still attached, providing musical accompaniment for middle-of-the-night fantasies. Farewell, oh faithful flock of sheep; you can no longer count on me, nor I on you. Insomnia be gone. Here's the new bedtime ritual: brush teeth, say prayers, and hook myself up to Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."

Dear Emma, with a comforting solemnity, revealed, "When I was really little, I thought computers were filled with little-bitty scientists who never had to go to the bathroom."

Oh, I sarcastically tell myself, my iPod will be filled with teeny-tiny musicians with huge kidneys. Makes sense to me – and provides as much detail as I want to know about how the device works. I've always been an "If I ask you the time, please don't fly to London to check out Big Ben" type of woman.

To surprise Emma, I decided to make a fool of myself and continue my tendency to fake high-tech knowledge by bravely venturing into my local iPod-stocked retailer. My plan was to seek guidance from a salesperson who would be gentle with me.

I found him. The fine young fellow was informative, patient, and a heck of a good salesman considering all the accessories I now own in addition to my hot-pink encased, two-gigabyte toy (treasure).

Tony Bennett may have left his heart on the West Coast, but his dulcet tones join a plethora of entertaining mayhem within my grasp: symphonies by Bach and Beethoven, poignant country-and-western music, Broadway show tunes and all that jazz, NPR interviews, even an exercise video.

Podcasts are the next wave of my downloadable future.

Sure, you're impressed by my high-tech abilities. No need to be jealous. Emma did all the downloading work, smiled her I-love-you-godmom grin, and convinced me to let her borrow my iPod – for just a little while.

She'll return it – eventually – but until she does, I'll find satisfaction with the perpetual songs in my heart.

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