An Electric Blue Cooper Mini S swings into a track-mall parking lot off Hermosa St. in Redondo Beach, CA and comes to abrupt stop. The driver surveys the mallis walkway, squinting through the Miniis windshield and into the Southern California sun. He locates his reason for pulling into this particular mall and presses the Mini forward.
The driver waves as he pulls his Mini up to a smiling woman who could easily be mistaken for the actress, Pam Grier, or at least Ms. Grieris younger sister. The woman is decked out in hip-hugging bellbottom jeans, shoes with thick soles and even thicker heels, a lacy white jersey, and large orange sunglasses. To a Baby-Boomer, Ms. Grieris smiling doppelganger looks as if she had just walked off the set of Coffy or Foxy Brown: Her puffy brown hair is pulled back from her forehead and tied with parsley scarf, and her ears sport large gold hoop earrings.
"Hey Man," greets the Grier look alike, as she slides into the passenger seat of the Mini, "I am glad to see you! It is smokini out he-ah tah-day!"
The Mini driver smiles at the verbiage and leans over to present his cheek to his passenger, onto which she plants a warm, friendly kiss.
The Mini driver pull off quickly and is out of the parking lot and into Hermosa St. traffic. "I hope you havenit been waiting long, Donna, the traffic is tough this time of day."
"No, I just got off. We had an emergency root canal to deal with. I really appreciate you taking me to pick up my car. Itis in for its 60,000 mile check up"
The driver nods, "Absolutely my pleasure."
The two settle in for session of stop and go rush-hour traffic. The Mini driver presses a button on his steering wheel and strains of Bobby McFerrin pump from the Miniis Harmon Kardon speakers.
Donna pushes her seat back and lets the cool conditioned air wash over her. She smiles. "Bobby McFerrinis nice , but you know what I like to listen to."
The Mini driver letis out a silent sigh, presses and button on his steering wheel, and reluctantly says, "Go ahead."
The music stops abruptly. Donna reaches into her canvas sack that serves as a purse, and occasionally, an overnight bag, and produces a pick iPod mini. She expertly flips open the Miniis glovebox, unplugs the iPod that is inside and plugs in her own. "Ok, she says with a smile even wider than before. The Mini driver presses another button on his steering wheel, and in another moment KC and the Sunshine Band is telling the pair to shake, shake, shake their booties. Donna settles back and sings along.
You can, you can do it very well.
Youire the best in the world, I can tell.
Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
When the last "Shake your booty" is played the Mini driver turns down the music and addresses his passenger. "You know, there is other music in the world besides Disco. You really need to expand you horizons."
Donnais eyes roll behind her sunglasses. "Disco makes me happy, and I like being happy. Itis like, a really groovy natural high; ya know?"
"Yeah, I know, but havenit you ever thought about checking out new stuff?"
In the background, George Clinton is warning the couple that if they hear any noise itis just him and the boys (Parliment).
Donnais perennial smile never waverd. "Yeah, I thought about; even tried to find some news stuff a while back, but I canit stand the radio; all of those cars sales yelling, or those commercials that insult my intelligence just got to me." So I donit bother with radio anymore. Besides, I have Mary Jane."
"My iPod, silly!"
Donna digs around in her sack again and produces two Tootsie Roll Pops. "Pick," she offers, and the driver selects the cherry. "Cool! I was hoping you took that one; I like orange."
The driveris right cheek bulges, and he talks around the candy. "Ya kno, yoo kin fin nu moosic in iToones Moosic Stoor."
Donna removes the orange ball from her mouth with a smack and a lick, then says, "Tried that. I hate those little 30-second snippets they give you. How are you suppose to hear anything interesting in 30 seconds? All that does is make me angry."
"Well, hav yoo tried da iMixes?"
"Same problem; still stuck with 30 seconds to preview a song." She sat up in her seat now, and turn to her driver. " You know, Apple really should do something about that 30 second thing, it really gets on my nerves."
The Mini driveris eyes watch the traffic around them, in his peripheral vision, however, he sees an orange dot waving madly about and his passenger speaks her mind.
"I would buy a whole lot more music if I knew what the heck it is Iim buying. Like this Bobby McFerrin, I like him, especially that one song, umm, what was it ..., donit worry, keep smiling?"
The driver shifted the Tootsie Roll Pop to the other cheek, "Don worwe, be hoppy."
"Yeah! Thatis the one. Now, I bought that album after I heard some of the other cuts on the CD. If I hadda tried to listen to the album in iTunes Music Store, I probably wouldnit a bought it; some of those songs sound strange if you only hear a little bit of it.
See? you gotta know what you are buying before you buy it, and iTune Music Store wonit let you know. As it is, the only stuff I really know is Disco, so that all I buy."
Ya know, Apple really needs to fix that; Itis not like itis rocket science or anything."
The drive pull the cherry flavored pop from his mouth. "How would you fix it?"
Donna shrugs, Geez, I dunno! I mean, Steve Jobs is a smart guy; Iim sure he can figure it out. Maybe he make his own radio station without commercial, and make it just for the iPod." She sits back in the seat and licks her pop absently. "It would be kinda cool to have, like, different channels that play, like, different kinds of music and stuff. and then, when you hear a song you like you just press a button on your iPod and it get the song for you."
The Mini Cooper driveris eyes widen as flashes ignite in his head. "Say that again, Donna."
"Huh? Say what?"
"What you just said; something about an Apple radio station..."
"Oh! I just said that itid be kinda cool if Apple had one."
"No! I mean the part about the button."
"Oh, that. I just said that the iPod could have a button that you press to buy the song you just heard on the radio."
The Mini driver smiled broadly. "That would be cool!"
"Yeah, it would."
"Of course, Apple wouldnit need to build its own radio station, it could use one of the satellite radio services, like Sirus or XM."
"Satellite radio? Whatis that," Donna asked?
"Itis a service where you receive high quality digital broadcasts of music or talk from satellites. Whatis nice about it that there are no commercials."
Donna took her pop from her mouth, raised her hands skyward, and yelled, "HA-LAY-LOO-YA!!!"
The Mini driver laughed. From the speakers, the Ohio Players moaned, "Fire! Fire!"
The song seemed appropriate somehow, the driver of the Mini felt like someone had lit a fire under him; as thoughts of an iPod married to a satellite radio service took shape in his head, he squirmed in his seat, impatient now with the traffic. He wanted to be elsewhere.
Donna crunched her Tootsie Roll Pop and chewed noisily. "Ya know," she said after most of the candy had been swallowed, "Iid buy another iPod if it did what you just said; tune in those satellite broadcasts. That would be far out, man!"
She contemplated for a moment and wondered aloud, "I wonder if Apple has thought of it?"
"If they havenit, donit worry; they will."
Donna glanced at the driver with questioning eyes. The driver smiled. "I have connections."
"Oh," said Donna, eyebrows raised in mild surprise. She didnit press him for more information. There was much about her host that she didnit know, but that was OK by her; she liked a little mystery in the men she knew.
The Mini swung from the street and into the lot of a car dealership. "There ya go," the driver said, as he pulled to a stop near the service door of the dealership. "Iill hang around a bit to make sure everythingis cool."
Donna leaned over a planted another kiss on the driveris cheek. "You are a doll, you know that? Thanks for the lift."
"My pleasure, Donna Winter, the driver replied. "My absolute pleasure."
The Mini driver watched as Donna disappeared into the dealership. The Brothers Johnson was crooning Strawberry Letter 22, but the driver paid little notice, he was deep in thought, working through the particulars of Donnais iPod/satellite radio idea.
The iPod wouldnit download the song as Donna had suggested, of course, but it could remember the song so that when it was plugged into a Mac or PC it could download the information into iTunes, which could then find the song in the Music store and offer it up for purchase. What a sweet system that would be! Apple would make out because it would solidify its position as the number one provider of personal music players, and the satellite radio guys would suddenly become extremely popular.
A loud iBEEP-BEEPi startle the Mini driver from his thoughts and he looked out of the driveris side window and saw a canary yellow Volkswagen Beetle convertible that was festooned with large colorful daises. Donna was behind the wheel, smiling her permanently brilliant smile.
The Mini driver powered door his window."Hey Sunshine," Donna greeted. "Toss me Mary Jane, if you donit mind."
The Mini driver returned the smile, and did as he was asked. Donna caught the pink iPod mini deftly. "OK, as you can see, I got wheels again. Thanks!"
Before the Mini driver could reply, Donna sped off. He watched as her yellow Bug merged into traffic and vanished.
The Mini driver crunched into the remaining candy shell of his Tootsie Roll Pop, and chewed. He pulled out his cellphone and tapped a speed-dial number, then put the phone to his ear. After a few rings, someone answered. "Hey, yeah, itis me. Listen, can we meet tomorrow? Iive got something to discuss with you."