Thursday, December 16, 2010


I've been typing since I was in high school. I learned on a manual typewriter, with a black-inked cloth ribbon and 1 or 2 characters per "hammer" that flew up and against the paper. This was before the more modern moving "typeball". I liked the sound that the keys made when they hit the platen and that zing noise from the carriage return lever.

We wrote our notes in spiral notebooks or legal pads, our school papers longhand on white 3-holed looseleaf and our essays in those little blue exam books. Typing class was given in the 2nd semester of Senior year...and I might have been looking out the window a bit. Lazy habits developed and although I use all the fingers on my left hand, I only use my thumb and forefinger on my right hand. Crazy fast though, for a total of 7 fingers, newsroom style. Not sure how I got past the discerning eye of the nuns in charge, or whether I can ever train the 3 other right fingers at this late stage...but I've managed to make it this far.

I brought a portable Brother typewriter to college, in a light blue carrying case. It kind of looked like this one, which I saw last week in an antique shop in NYC.

I also brought reams of onion skin and carbon paper. I was all that! After college, the office support staff did "the typing" in various jobs and I was never hired or tested for that skill (or lack) specifically. I've muddled through, from manual and electric typewriters to word processors to computers...with letters and proposals coming out just fine. I'm thankful for the backspace, cut and paste functions. Never did learn to format in Word with all those funky symbols, strike thrus and backwards P's to mark paragraphs. I bow to administrative assistants!! I am not worthy.

Scroll forward 30 years...

I didn't want to lug my netbook to France a few weeks ago, in favor of carrying extra camera I logged on to the hotel PC to answer more fully the e-mails that I got on my Blackberry.

Have you ever used a European keyboard? It's not QWERTY and it threw me for a loop. I was backspacing and correcting even the simplest reply! How are you supposed to type pumpkin or the word minimum with just the right hand?




Gotta hit the shift key to type numbers out over there, and hit the Alt key for @, a symbol that's used more than you'd think!

We're all using the same alphabet, so why are the keyboards set up differently? Not that is should be universally American, but...

I'm just sayin'. Annoying!

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