When John was alive, we didn't ever listen to much music around the house. We had—still have—a nice setup involving an Apple AirPort Express that allows us to stream our iTunes library over our Bose Wave radio, but we usually only did that if we had friends over or needed to indulge an earworm. In general, the two of us preferred the sound of silence when we were puttering around the house.
Nonetheless, at some point, mostly because of the fact that our condo is tiny and we had nowhere to store all of our CDs in our living space, we undertook the massive project of transferring all of our music into iTunes. This took a while and, because John and I are both anal types who felt compelled to copy EVERY TRACK on EVERY CD we owned—even things we didn't like and would never listen to—it took up a ton of space on our hard drive.
To solve that problem, we got a LaCie external hard drive and transferred our entire iTunes library there. We set our iTunes preferences so that all new imports would be stored in the library on the external hard drive. All systems were go.
The system worked great the entire time John was alive. When John died, I basically stopped listening to music at all. It wasn't a conscious decision, exactly, it's just that I don't like background noise (even in the car and on the rare occasions that I get out for a run, I only listen to NPR) and it's not like I had time to sit around and enjoy some quiet time with some tunes. I got a small CD player/radio for the playroom and played the kids' music in there; I didn't open iTunes on our computer for months, probably over a year.
A few weeks ago, I was doing some work on the computer in the evening after the kids went to bed and I decided, for whatever reason, to put on some music. I opened up iTunes, selected a song, and (you can see where this is going, I'm sure) was told that my selection could not be played because the file could not be found. I rebooted my computer and restarted the external drive. Nada. My desktop cannot find my external hard drive. My dad happened to be visiting at the time and he tried hooking the drive up to his laptop: nothing. I tried hooking the hard drive up to my laptop: no nothing there, either.
Well, crap. That's annoying. Before I lug boxes of CDs up from the basement, it seems to make sense to try to recover the data on the drive. I have no idea where to go to do this, or how much it might cost. Readers? Suggestions? Ideas? Local ideas welcome (greater Boston), but it seems like maybe there's someplace I could mail it? Honestly, it might be easier for me to send the thing somewhere than to find time to take it someplace local. How crazy is that? But true.
In the meantime, I decided to toss my old-school, original 20GB iPod into my purse on Monday to take to work. We had more than 20GB of music in iTunes, so I don't have my whole library on the iPod, but I have almost 4,000 songs worth of music, and it's been fun and, not surprisingly, somewhat emotional to put it on shuffle and take things as they come. I just heard "Freedom" by Robbie Williams, and now I'm listening to Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time." Tori Amos was on earlier, and I've also listened to some Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Dave Matthews, and Outkast. When John and I merged our CD collections, we only had a few selections that overlapped, amazingly enough. So when music comes on, I identify it as mine or John's. Robbie Williams? Mine, from a mix CD. Billy Joel? John's (I contributed the older BJ albums to our collection). Tori Amos? John. Simon & Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell were mine, as was Dave Matthews. Outkast was John. It's not that we didn't like each other's music, we just happened not to have collected the same things over the years.
Yikes! Something from the Braveheart soundtrack just came on! TOTALLY JOHN. I really hated that movie. We didn't always agree.
There is something satisfying and indulgent about getting lost in a song, putting on headphones and creating your own little world that blocks everything else out. I hope I can get my iTunes library back.