We have acquired an iPod. Found on the front steps by our downstairs neighbour, it has been sitting coquettishly on a chair in the communal hallway for two weeks now. It is an 8GB, 3rd generation Nano (read = it is small and square and red). Nobody has claimed it. Nobody has even touched it. It looks sad.
It’s a nice testament to modern morals, of course, that nobody has yet looked at it and gone “yoink, MINE”. It also puts to bed the eternal niggling worry of urban living, that someone in your building is probably a psychopath/rapist/dirty great thief. If they won’t nick an iPod, they probably won’t break in through our window, slaughter us brutally in our sleep with a Black and Decker multitool and harvest our organs to sell on the internet. That’s logic.
So it’s nice that everyone is really honest. Of course it is. Unless - and I’m about to be very, very cynical for a moment here, sort of like Charlie Brooker in a blonde wig – their honesty is like mine, a mere cover for the eternal belief that the moment they do anything immoral, someone will be secretly watching them.
I am incurably honest. Not out of genuine goodness as a person, but because ever since I first saw the Truman Show, I haven’t been able to shake off the sneaking fear that my life might be being filmed for an ITV2 special. So when I get given too much change, or they forget to charge me at the cinema, or a vending machine starts spitting out free Twixes, I own up, not because I’m incredibly selfless, but because I’m convinced that if I take advantage, Tess Daly or someone will jump out with a big microphone to tell me I’m a dreadful person.
But whatever the reason, the iPod is still there. It is still there when I leave for work, it is still there when I get home, it is still there when I get up at 3am and run downstairs to check. It is taunting me. Its not that I want it myself; I have an iPod. I just want SOMEBODY to have it. It’s like when a seat becomes free on the tube and nobody sits in it. Take it, please! Keep the universe in balance! Otherwise it’s just a waste of good music.
And this we know, because we have looked. It was just too tempting not to. An iPod is a window to the soul, a weirdly intimate insight into somebody’s life. If a group of strangers were going through mine, they’d discover that I: secretly like Dolly Parton more than the Doors; have a playlist called ‘Grr’ to listen to specifically when I’m wearing a leather jacket; and regularly alternate Dizzee Rascal with the Andrews Sisters.
So we have discovered that this iPod belongs to someone called Sara. And Sara is a person who likes Beyonce. And Boney M. And Bowie. She feels perfectly comfortable listing Gloria Estefan next to Gogol Bordello, and has a whole playlist consisting of Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat eight times over (Sara potentially doesn’t know how to use her iPod very well).
Sara also has a slightly scary amount of the same stuff I do. How many other people have Edith Piaf, Donovan and Yann Tiersen nestling up with The Style Council? I believe it can only mean one of two things: either 1) I am meant to be find Sara, whoever she may be, and start a beautiful enduring friendship based on a mutual love of French accordion refrains, or 2) I am meant to keep her iPod.
Unlikely commercial collaboration of the week: National Geographic and Ambi Pur. What next, we must ask, Glade and the Radio Times? The authentic scent of Terry Wogan’s dressing room (I’m betting: furniture polish and murray mints). Or Airwick and the Daily Mail! Mmm, that alpine freshness just about covers the scent of immigration and paedophilia, doesn’t it?
Internet installation day minus 216 hours: I have taken up crosswords. When I don’t know the answer to a clue, I have fun by trying to fill the boxes with my own creative expletives. Six across, four letters. Why not try it at home today?