Just over a decade after the launch of the iPod, and a year after the decommissioning of the iconic Sony Walkman, I look back with nostalgia at the best Christmas present I ever got.
My family traveled a lot. Long car journeys across Europe. My favorite pastime was reading (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? Well, I wrecked my eyes reading that IN the wardrobe). In the car, though, any reading attempt would result in projectile vomiting, which my parents seemed surprisingly adverse to, so that Walkman was a godsend.
The hours would melt away as I sat staring out the window in an auditory trance. Occasionally I’d forget myself and sing (croak) until my little lungs hurt.
I remember painstakingly recording new mix tapes on my parents’ HUGE hi-Fi system, with all its complicated knobs and buttons. I remember carefully labeling them and putting them into boxes, and stacking them up, ready for my next car trip. I think I even acquired a rather embarrassing bum bag (fanny pack?) to carry it all in.
My first walkman lasted a good three to five years. Things were built to last in those days. When I turned 12, I received a discman and my trusty Sony was left to gather dust in a drawer.
The discman, of course, was a short lived fad, followed rapidly by the minidisc which was a complete failure.
It wasn’t until 2001 – a whopping 14 years after the best present ever-- that my world was rocked yet again, this time by the ipod. But that’s another story.
The walkman’s story, however, officially ended when Sony announced last year that it would no longer produce them after 30 years and 200 million copies sold. Not a bad run, all in all. But for me, it will always be the best present I ever opened. Goodbye old friend, and thanks for all the good times.