Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Untangling Earbuds

They say the only sure things are death and taxes, but I'd like to add "tangled earbuds" to that short list of life's certainties. Like the gravitational constant, I think it must be a physical law of the universe that earbuds tangle themselves no matter how carefully you lay them down.

To satisfy the empiricist in me, I have experimented with this extensively. When I am finished listening to my favorite podcasts, I lay my earbuds flat on my computer desk where they should peacefully wait until later in the day when I load my iPod Shuffle with fresh, new podcasts. During the time I am gone, nobody is home but our lazy cat, who has never jumped on said computer desk. One would think that when I got back, the earbuds would be exactly as I had left them.

But alas, no. When I pick up my poor earbuds, they have tangled themselves into an impossible Gordian knot that takes me more hours to untie that it would take me to solve a Rubik's cube (I'm still waiting on that little stroke of brilliance, in case you're wondering).

It's worse when I leave them overnight. When I go to bed, I take my trusty Shuffle upstairs and lay it carefully on my side of the bathroom counter. Again, no matter how neatly I arrange the earbud cords, they are hopelessly tangled by morning. I have learned to set my alarm early enough to allow time for the inevitable exercise in untangling that I must undergo every morning. I think Earbud Untangling should count as part of my workout routine, but Gizmo is not convinced.

Personally, I suspect the Sock Alien. I think he creeps out of the dryer when he's done playing with the assorted single socks he absconded with on laundry day. He slithers along and, finding no additional socks, is irresistably attracted to my earbuds. It's like gravity or something. See? I knew the gravitational constant figured into this somehow.

I wonder what would happen if I put a nice, clean sock on the floor directly underneath my poor earbuds? I shall have to experiment!