If you’ve read any more than a couple of these posts, you’ve met my friend, Tape Recorder.  

Tape Recorder is always within arm’s reach. At the desk. Next to me in the car. Always at the bedside. Or on the next pillow, connected to me by its carry strap, an obliging companion, waiting for the inevitable late-night booty call from Lynn’s brain.

Funny, okay. Quirky, sure. But useful. Not having to turn on the bedside lamp or find a place to pull the car over or interrupt my weekend morning three-miler to fish out a notebook when the ideas start raining hot and fast: It has a lot going for it. What you might find a little unexpected is the tape recorder itself.

The thing is 20 years old if it’s a day. The kind of recorder that uses those little micro-cassette tapes. And batteries. After all this time, the thing’s gone a little hinky. The rewind/fast forward switch is somewhat temperamental: Unless it’s seated perfectly, the recording sounds as if I’m auditioning for a part in The Little Mermaid, The Undersea Production. Or maybe trying out my chances for an Ozarks’ yodeling contest.

I tried cheating on this two-decades-old relationship with Tape Recorder. I actually went out and bought a digital one. Sleek little thing. Compact and elegant (and pricey.) A rechargeable battery built-in. Very handsome and quite au courant. Suddenly, I felt I was very much the early-adopter of this exciting new technology (that was only, what?, a decade old.) Until I tried the thing out.

Aaaaaaaannnnd… No.

The speaker was a poor, piddly-voiced little thing that demanded an earphone (not at all what you want when you’re playing back written-and-read passages in the dark of night.)  Second, you needed a degree from MIT just to figure out the twelve-thousand features you were never going to use anyway. And third, there was nothing at all instinctive about the tiny, close-together control buttons that had nothing of my dear old friend-recorder’s simplicity about them—no way to help one record or playback by confident touch.

What I wanted all along, I already had: press the damned button, speak than damned words and play the damned thing back.

And so, this plea for pardon of my dear old analog Tape Recorder that sits by my side at this moment: Can you ever forgive me for straying?

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