I have written before about the terrible self-identification that can go into putting songs onto an iPod. When iPods were more limited in capacity (and in function, just, say, playing music), I felt extreme anxiety at deciding which music to put on the machine lest some imaginary and judgmental person should pick up my iPod and evaluate my taste, even my character, based on these musical selections.
This psychological paralysis was attenuated by one rather simple fact—people don’t actually peruse the contents of each other’s iPods that much in non-communal settings. So, if you’re an adult, work a real job, and pretty much only use your iPod for commuting or exercise, there isn’t much opportunity to be judged by an imaginary interloper who gets his/her hands on your most private of musical objects.
In a way, iPods are kind of like wallets or underwear. If you lose the former, it is really annoying, time-intensive, and often expensive to replace. The latter is usually only seen (and handled) by intimate relations. These facts, at least in my life, have freed me from caring at all about what someone else might think about what is or isn’t on my iPod. Since no one else ever uses it, there is nothing to worry about.