Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Prince, His Castle, and his Tunes

Checked in with Little Brother today; it's his fourth day on the job and apparently they're having a huge anniversary/Halloween party at his work. Although he hasn't permanently moved into CT yet, and only has about 5 days worth off clothes with him, he was able to pull together what sounds like a pretty convincing Clark Kent/Superman costume. Of course, he had to dress up because anyone in a costume was entered in a raffle to win an iPod nano. Yeah, aparently my brother is working in a frat house.

Now, my brother just got an iPod nano for his birthday last month, which begs the question, what would he do would a second? Please God let the answer be "give it to his sister". All this is very ironic, because on the Daily Heights Message Board, we've been discussing the recent shooting in the neighborhood where a 16 yr. old was shot by the cops for mugging people for their iPods at gunpoint. For some reason this morning, I was in an "oversharing" mood and I felt compelled to post this:

I am a 24 year old white, college educated woman with a full time professional job and I cannot afford an iPod or a digital camera or whatever. I've never thought of stealing or shoplifting one, but everytime I see someone my age or younger whipping one out, I get jealous. I get a little jealous and I think, "what the fuck? how come they have one and I don't?"

(Followed by this: "Of course, I have other possessions I can go home and comfort myself with. And I have resources to express this feeling, and I can foresee a time in my future, albeit distant, when I will be able to afford the things I want. If I didn't have these comforts, who knows how this feeling might grow and motivate me....")

So it would be only fitting for my brother to have two iPods and me to have none.

Speaking of the Prince, I was talking to my Dad last week and he told me my brother had been shopping for apartments in CT and found a one bedroom he liked for $1050/month. I said, "Dad, that's more than I pay a month. A lot more. And he's going to be making less than I make to start. Don't you think he should keep looking? I mean, I live in New York City for God's sake. I'm sure he could find something less for a grand."

"Yeah, I know what you pay, but your brother needs to live in a nice place. He can't live in a place like that." [Translation: "Your brother can't live like you, in a dark hovel, rolling around in your filth in the middle of a ghetto."]

"Excuse me?"

"Well, I haven't seen your new place, but you have to admit it Nance, your last place was a dump."

"Well, yeah, it was kinda of dumpy. But it was cheap."

"Your brother needs to live in a complex. With ammenities."

"Right. Because he's a prince."


So my brother ended up taking this one bedroom, five minutes away from his girlfriend's apartment, and he called me on the phone to talk about it. I didn't want to be negative or scare him that he was in totally over his head, but it was time to introduce him to reality.

"Well, you do it, " he said. "You're fine, right?"

"Well, I pay less in rent than you. And I make more money. And I'm in a lot of debt." The good thing is my brother won't have anywhere near the horrible credit card debt I have, so that has to count for something, right? "Also, I try to keep my monthly expenses down. I don't have a TV. No cable bill. I don't have an Internet connection. No wireless bill. Hell, I don't even have a land line."

"Yeah, well, I've got to have cable and internet. And then there's my car payment ..." Meanwhile I'm thinking in my head, oh my God, does this kid know he has to pay taxes?? Hopefully there is nothing else to spend money on in Stamford. Nope, he tells me. Stamford is a good size city with lots of places to go out.

Good luck, Little Brother. I hope it works out for you, I really do. And if you ever need to borrow money, don't even bother asking. This well is dry. In the meantime, I hope you win that second iPod. Maybe with the help of eBay you can convert it into a car payment.


maia said...

I feel the same way every time i see someone with an ipod....glad i'm not the only one.

lebrookski said...

i, too, do not own/cannot afford an ipod. however, i also am not really actively wanting an ipod, as i feel that ipods are for sell-outs.

if i had my way/way more upper-body strength/portable power supply...i would wear a a turntable around my neck and schlepp a bunch of 12" records around...

that said, my own little brother offered to give me the ipod shuffle that he won at his place of employment.

i declined.

jesse said...

hm. I don't have one either so I'm far from the leader of the i-pod pep squad. but 'sell-outs?' what's being compromised here? dogged devotion to less convenient musical mediums?

Joshua said...

Look, iPods are awesome. I thought they were lame, until I briefly had enough second income to afford one and they are WONDERFUL. Tell yourself they're dumb all you like, but having every album you own at your finger tips is an incredible feeling. You iPodless folks keep reaching for that golden iPod in the sky. Your day will come and the prices have got to keep dropping anyway. Or, I guess you could steal one.

lebrookski said...

what's being compromised here? dogged devotion to less convenient musical mediums?

yeah something like that.

i think if i had enough money to afford an ipod, i'd probably just spend it on more music. i don't think ipods are dumb, but for me there's just something to the whole process of listening to music that gets lost. i really like having something in my hands that i can put into or on to something else. i just feel like i savor the music more that way....

but really, that's just me.

jesse said...

That makes sense.

I think I was feeling punchy because my browsing hand keeps bringing me back to MP3 players on ebay. I bet I'll cave any day now.