"It's dead."

The Apple store employee plunked my beloved pink iPod down on the counter and tugged on his heavily pierced earlobe. "Do you have a warranty?"

I settled into my seat at the Genius Bar to tell my tale of electronic woe. "It was a gift from my ex-boyfriend two years ago, and he said he put a three-year warranty on it. But ..." I paused to splay my hands wide, indicating my ignorance of warranty procedure in particular and ex-boyfriends in general. You can say a lot by spreading your arms and grimacing.

Tapping the keys of his computer, he told me there was no record of any warranty.

Click here to keep reading ...

Meaning I'd have to come up with some formal proof or my music-listening capability was about to be severely curtailed.

I pulled my arms back down to a normal position. "So I guess I have to decide if talking to my ex is worth the hundred and fifty bucks."

"Bad breakup?"

"Bad enough," I replied.

Next to me, a dark-haired girl drummed her fingers on the counter while she waited for her laptop to be revived. She looked over and said, "Why talk to an ex if you don't have to? Buy yourself a new one."

Thanking them, I hopped off my chair. Passing the rows of colorful new iPods on my way out the door, I wondered how often such a concrete dollar amount is placed on talking to an ex, and how much my peace of mind is worth -- especially in this economy.

We hadn't spoken in months, and the thought of sending him an e-mail, one that could possibly be misconstrued as a weak and/or desperate attempt at contact, was exhausting. Then there's that whole handing-over-your-power thing (or, at least, power over my gadgets) -- a course of action that would be soundly denounced (if not flat out pummeled) by any semiconscious feminist. I could e-mail him to see if he still had the warranty information (which he probably wouldn't) or I could pony up the cash for a new one.

As with so many problems, the best solution was to pull out my credit card. My new iPod is a shiny green one named Kermit the Pod. Best $150 I ever spent.