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What do you do with an iTunes gift card?

January 27, 2015

The other day when I opened the front door to greet my mother, she held her purse in one hand and an external hard drive in the other.

“What is this?” she asked.

“Daddy’s porn machine,” I answered.

“WHAT?”

“It’s an external hard drive,” I sighed. “It holds files like music, photos, or in Daddy’s case, porn.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“It’s okay, Ryan has one, too,” I calmed her. Ryan narrowed his eyes at me from the sofa.

“Really, Bobbin, WHAT IS IT? I found it on the floor unplugged beside the computer, but the computer is working fine, so am I supposed to plug it back in?”

“I told you what it is: an external hard drive. Daddy probably stored music on it when he still listened to his iPod, so no, you don’t need to plug it back in. We can hook it up to my computer and figure out what’s on it.”

“Really? You’re SO SMART!” Mother clapped.

We soon discovered that the hard drive contained Timber’s iTunes library as well as some medical videos she watched as part of her master’s degree. Then, Mother waved a $15 iTunes gift card in my face.

“I won this at the gym!” she announced. “What do you do with an iTunes gift card? Listen to a song?”

“Good God, Mother. You can buy music and listen to it from your iPhone, iPod, or computer.”

“Can you buy individual songs and not entire albums?”

“Yes. Tell me what songs you want, and I’ll do it for you.”

“Yay! I’ve been wanting ‘Desperado’ by Linda Ronstadt.”

I downloaded “Desperado” on Mother’s iPhone.

“How much did that cost?” she asked.

“$1.29.”

“Wow, so I can buy several songs?!?!”

“Yep. What else do you want?”

We downloaded Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” before Mother ran out of ideas. I showed her how to access the music on her phone, but much to her consternation, U2’s Songs of Innocence sullied her library. (Songs of Innocence automatically downloaded to iTunes libraries upon its release last fall. If you care, read more about it here.)

“I don’t want that on here!” Mother carped.

“Okay, then I’ll make you a playlist with just your songs, okay? What should we call it?” I asked while creating the list on her phone. “I know: Lynn’s Vagina,” I slowly enunciated while typing the title. I pressed the screen into her face and guffawed.

“Bobbin, why did you do that?” Mother frowned, searing me with an expression that encapsulated hurt, embarrassment, and disappointment. I suddenly felt like a seventh grade bully but still couldn’t stop laughing.

“Take that off, Bobbin. Now you take that off!”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know how!”

“TAKE IT OFF.”

I finally changed the title to “Lynn’s List,” which I admit is more rhythmic and alliterative than “Lynn’s Vagina.”

When Mother left I blew her kisses from the driveway and thought about how she’s loved “Desperado” for as long as I can remember. In the early ’90s, we took day trips to Harry’s Farmers Market in Marietta. Daddy could drive then. Mother would put on a Linda Ronstadt cassette tape and daydream or sometimes fall asleep with her face against the window, a slight grin reflected on the glass.

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