Ode to a typewriter

Ryan bought a typewriter this weekend.

What he doesn't know is that I went through a typewriter phase while other girls were going through their makeup phases or maybe their horse phases. I discovered two big typewriters, glorious old yellow beasts, at my mom's work.


I was fifteen and without my driver's license, so instead I'd Rollerblade out between the olive trees to her office, where in the days when the Internet was still new, I'd sneak in the back and ratatat out little ditties on typewriters ten years my senior.

I remember the day when Mom introduced me to the World Wide Web. She opened the browser, and while window struggled to open, I went back to the typewriter, loving the hard give that each key gave as my fingers knocked them down. When the Internet was finally "ready," she suggested I look something up on it.

"Look something up?" I asked. "Like what?"

"Anything you want," she said. "That's kind of the point."

I sat at her computer and stared into its whiteness for a while, the blinking Netscape N spinning on the screen, then typed in the words "Winne the Pooh." Five minutes later a few images appeared.

It was like magic. Note the "like." There, indeed, were A.A. Milne's characters, but somehow seeing their likeness on the screen was not as satisfying as the methodical clack clack clack of the typewriter. Because writing on a typewriter was both more exciting than writing by hand and more validating--here was a thing that looked and sounded like Work.

So when Ryan brought him a typewriter and wrote me poems on it, I fall into a different kind of love. A kind of love reminiscent of long strolls between olive trees, the wonder of the Internet not quite on our heels, the sheer work of the world a joy to behold.

And I remember, too, the quiet contentment of this man with the confidence I can't quite describe. The confidence of a capable speller, even on a typewriter. Especially on a typewriter.