Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Now This Is Fine Technology

Years ago I had an old (read: cast iron) typewriter with big round keys that it took a mallet to push. It used ribbons which smeared and saved all of your errors for posterity. My grandmother had given it to me. She worked at the CDC in Atlanta her entire adult life. When she first started this had been her typewriter and it was a good one. 50 years later it was good for nothing much more than a door stop or transcribing the thoughts of an overtired hausfrau who got cramps from long hand.

Now this is fine technology I told myself when I first sat down in front of it. I couldn’t type but how hard could it be? Kids learned it in school for heavens sake. I had finished school so I was smart enough to do it. Of course, I hadn’t been smart enough to take any business classes in school, which should have told me this would be a challenge, but no, I am a plow-ahead kind of gal. 20 reams of paper, two ribbons and a quart of BIC Wite-Out later I had my own way of typing (lousy) and blistered but coordinated fingers.

I would sit up at night in a house finally gone quiet and pound out stories, bitch lists, dreams and desires. I would usually re-read them in the morning and mutter “oh my GOD, I can’t show this to anyone, they will think I am certifiable” but I continued to do it. I could say I was honing my craft. In fact, I will, because it sounds good even if not quite true. I was maintaining a little piece of self, flotsam in a giant sea of confusion and fatigue.

I inherited a word processor next. The thing about a word processor is that they should only be owned by people who can type. And people who can see. And people with tiny boobs. Why you ask? Because when you can’t see shit and you lean forward to read something on the tiny screen you press the x and the dot with your giant boobs, instantly getting x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x. in the middle of your work. ‘Nuff said about the word processor. We parted ways at a yard sale and I was NOT sorry to see it go.

Next was a 486 IBM clone with WordPerfect. I was in heaven. I still couldn’t type well, still mashed buttons on occasion with my always-in-the-damn-way bosom but with the large (12 inch) monitor it happened much less often and it was so much easier to get rid of any x.’s which appeared. And fonts!! Who knew fonts could be so much fun?! There were issues for sure. I have several stories with the editing marks printed out on them because I couldn’t figure out how to hide them again for a month. I still didn’t understand how spell check worked so let it make corrections willy-nilly without reviewing them (Their, they’re, there… need I say more?), but all in all what I produced actually LOOKED like something someone might want to read.

Fast forward 15 years. I have five computers on line at any given time. I am married to a total computer geek and have children and grandchildren born into the digital age. They tweet, they blog, they buzz, they interface and network socially. They message more than they speak and have a bazillion electronic toys for their tots. I work on computers every day. We are a family exemplifying the new millennium. My writing has improved to the point that A. It is legible and B. Good enough to show people I don’t know and almost good enough to show those I do so I tweet, buzz, network, link and share. Wish me luck!