Cassette Tapes

Given yesterday’s post, I think it would be too easy to choose coffee as my letter C mistake. I was definitely wrong to not like coffee at first, and I was really, REALLY wrong in my early thirties when I gave it up for a whole year, but I’m going to write about cassette tapes instead.

When I was young, I earned a small allowance for doing household chores, and after I grew too old to want to spend my money on stuffed animals, I wanted to spend it on music. There was always a lot of music in my house. My dad had managed an electronics store for a while and had always enjoyed finding broken equipment at garage sales and fixing it up. Between that and the crates of records that he rescued from people’s lawns, there wasn’t even room in our garage for a bicycle, much less two cars. But on the plus side, we had a great stereo system in the house and there was always music playing. Pretty early on, I got the bug to build my own collection.

By that time, the world had moved on from vinyl to cassette tapes, and this wonderful music service from BMG was available. It allowed a kid earning just a few dollars a week to start a pretty rocking collection of Bangles and Tom Petty albums and experience the joy of consumerism via the US Postal service long before Jeff Bezos began his bid for global domination. I signed up and spent a lot of babysitting money and birthday checks from my grandmother on those buy X get X free offers over the next few years. And of course I bought one of those plastic spinning cassette towers to display my excellent taste in music.

And then the early 90s hit and CDs were rapidly becoming the next big platform. As I continued to circle my future cassette purchases in the BMG catalogs, my father, being the technology savvy man that he is (in some regards, anyways. It’s 2015 and he still thinks the internet is just something my mother does on the phone.), strongly suggested that I switch to CDs, which to me was out of the question. I’m not sure whether my refusal was based on the price difference between the two or just a dogmatic insistence on continuing what I had started, but I continued to buy cassettes long after my father had acquired and filled a plastic spinning CD tower.

Later, I realized that my refusal to accept CDs wasn’t due to price or habit; it was symptomatic of a lifelong technological mental deficiency. I made some small advances – by the time I owned my first car I did have a full 250 CD wallet stealthily kept under the front seat where no thief would have ever thought to look and a custom stereo (face plate stealthily stored in the glove box) with a 7 CD changer that I had installed at Circuit City. See – I was hip to Circuit City. You can’t say I was a total Luddite. Although now that Circuit City shut down, I might be totally out of the loop again. I have heard about this Best Buy place…

But I never owned an MP3 player because they didn’t make sense to me. Someone gave me an iPod years ago and couldn’t figure that out either. I still have it somewhere among all my junk (which doesn’t occupy any garage space) and every few years I “discover” that I own it and get really excited, but then once again can’t figure out how to work it and toss it aside. I stopped taking photos when all cameras went digital and film became really hard to find. I don’t think there’s any loss there because everyone I know takes a million photos of the same things, so I just get photos of parties and people and events from my friends when I want them. Are there any pictures you can’t find on Facebook or Google Images anyways? And I finally graduated to a smartphone when I was 32 years old. I opted for Blackberry because I remembered everyone talked about how cool they were and all the neat functionality they had. Of course, by that time everyone else had moved on to iPhones and Android phones, but I figured I’d just let them deal with the quirks of that new-fangled technology and I’d stick with the tried and true. That’s right – I totally bought the Q10 in the summer of 2013 and it was wonderful.

But apparently I was wrong about that too because my lovingly patient, Apple-evangelist partner forced an iPhone 5 on me last fall and I have to say, I’m pretty blown away by the apps and the functionality of it. If I can just use it for the next 10 years and not have to change again, I’ll be happy.

Curious about what everyone else is writing for the A to Z Blog Challenge? Me too! I’m using a random number generator to select three blogs from my fellow contributors to read each day. Here are today’s discoveries:

Jay Noel – Writer on Fire

Notes in a Book

Wanna Buy a Duck

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