Just use the subjunctive and everything will be fine.

Sometimes I cannot even believe the crazy stuff that we get up to! So, just for posterity, here’s an account of an early 21st century trip along the freeway system from Ann Arbor, Michigan to O’Hare Airport, outside of Chicago, Illinois…

I got up this morning and, with the trepidation that goes along with thinking about what we all were *doing* today, took my walk. When I got back, everyone (the GG and Mouse (and various aminals Grok grok!)) were up! And active! And, boy were they active! It turns out that Mouse’s on-again-off-again aging iPod (three years old) had crapped out in the wee hours of the morning. Around, I dunno, six hours before we were scheduled to leave to drive her to Chicago for her departure on a six-month study-abroad sojourn in Sénégal. Y’all have heard about that a few times lately, no? Yes, I will miss my Mouse.

We had been discussing the viability of Mouse’s iPod all summer. It has crapped out several times before. My own personal intuition told me that we should just get her a new one. Why fool around? But. Money is money and some people (I won’t name who) thought that it just needed rebooting, etc., etc., ad nauseam. And, since I wasn’t directly involved in any of the actual problems, I managed to lull myself into a false sense of security. “It’s been rebooted (again) and it works now and it’ll keep working throughout Sénégal. After all, I don’t want to spend money either.” But still.

So, this morning we took off with the plan of trying to buy a *new* iPod on the way to Chicago. Somehow. We were armed with two wireless capable laptop computers, one (my Macbook) with a better antenna than the other, two iPhones, and a jump drive with a pdf listing stores that purportedly sell iPods in the southwestern Michigan/northern Indiana area, etc.

I won’t go into too much detail except that the GG was driving and I was using my iPhone to try to access the stores on the pdf, plus whatever else I could find. Anywhere close to the freeway. Valparaiso was *not* close to the freeway, in my estimation, so I nixed that quick. I was wondering what the heck I should do next and we were (really!) thinking about hitting the Apple Store in downtown Chicago. Not my favorite plan but we were early and it became a backup plan.

And then. We passed a rather gritty looking WalMart/big box/strip mall kind of thing in Benton Harbor. The GG asked, “should we stop and look in there?” I said, “NO!” envisioning spending the next few hours stopping at every gritty looking shopping center everywhere, in search of a store that sold an 80G iPod. He agreed with me and we passed the exit and THEN, WHOA!, we saw a Best Buy store backing right up to the freeway. Hooooold on! The next exit was a quarter mile away and we got off on it and turned ourselves around and navigated (with a few more u-turns) to the Best Buy.

When we got there, I declined to go into the store. My story was that I just wanted to stretch in the parking lot. Although that was true, the real reason was that I was terrified that they wouldn’t find what they wanted. I was trying to be calm and go with the flow and that can be hard for me even on a good day. So. I waited and watched the people coming out of the store. Mouse and the GG were in there long enough that I thought maybe they had found the appropriate iPod and, sure enough, they emerged triumphant.

We were all acting triumphant for a few minutes but, just before we got to the freeway entrance ramp again, Mouse noticed that the 80 gig didn’t come with a charger. We stopped. She dredged her luggage for a few minutes looking for a charger. Nada. *Back* to Best Buy to buy a charger. And go to the bathroom, which by that time I had to do.

Back onto the freeway. From the back seat came something like, “I can’t put my music on my new iPod because I don’t have the newest version of iTunes.” Need to download the latest version of iTunes. Okay, enough of the MacStumbling. We’re war-drivin’ now! Next exit had a McDonald’s with wifi. We bailed off the freeway, still in the Benton Harbor area, and paid $2.95 to get onto the Mickey D’s wifi but she couldn’t download iTunes. Thank you veddy much but we’ll look further. My Macbook was picking up a signal from the Burger King across the street but it was password protected. We went there anyway. I was thinking that if we couldn’t get online there, we’d be war-driving around forever figuring out which hotel or restaurant would have a signal strong enough that a 12″ G4 powerbook could get online in the parking lot and download iTunes.

It was a bit dodgy for a while, but that Burger King did the trick. The staff was initially clueless. We have wireless? It has a password? Wonder what it is… We poured out our heartrendingly sad story about dead iPods and flights to Africa, etc. Finally a young woman came out and gave us the password. Mouse was able to get online with it and after what seemed like hours but was probably only about ten minutes, we emerged with the latest copy of iTunes on her powerbook. If Burger King kids could take tips, I’d’ve prob’ly given them one of my 50 dollar bills. The GG did buy a little bit of food and I hailed them with a huge THANK YOU!

The story is boring from there. Mouse was able to load up the new iPod from her new iTunes. We got to O’Hare way early (that’s a good thing) and ate homemade pasta salad and then some other kids from Mouse’s study abroad program started showing up and we left and last I knew she was approaching Newfoundland. She didn’t take the powerbook to Africa so I guess I’m the custodian of that, as well as Original Mouse, for the next six months.

Anyway, welcome to the 21st century. Even a couple years ago, it would’ve been hard to do what we did today. I almost can’t envision what it was like to travel from The Planet Ann Arbor to Chicago by automobile in 1907. Were there cars then? O’Hare couldn’t have existed. I wonder what it will be like in 2107. I’m sure I won’t be here then, except to haunt the beach.

One Response to “Just use the subjunctive and everything will be fine.”

  1. ababsurdo.com » Blog Archive » Geek travel decompression Says:

    […] around looking for an open wifi so I could post a blahg entry. And then we got our iPhones and click here if you want to read about our *loverly* trip to Chicago along the Internet Highway a few years ago. […]