I should have taken my typewriter from 1954 into a Starbucks and started typing. Would the coffee house staff and patrons complain?
I frequently purge my house of junk. If I don’t use it, it takes up space and energy to move it around, it gets tossed. My minimalist point of view wants to edit out extra stuff in each room.
But I have my regrets over my search and destroy junk-finding missions.
I miss my old Royal typewriter which I gave away to the Vietnam Veterans charity truck last year.
My mother bought this typewriter. I don’t know if anyone at the Vietnam Veterans donation site felt the urge to pick it up or not. It may still be lingering around there somewhere. I should have at least taken some pictures of it since I miss it a little bit. I had to search online to find a proper image of the thing to post to this blog.
It had green keys and came with a carrying case. It even had two extra ribbons, top side black, bottom side red, just in case you wanted a pop of color in your document. The long, slender typeface arms rose up from the machine after you vigorously hit the keys. The instruction manual was still intact.
I miss this heap of metal. Not that I typed on it, I just pulled it out every now and then to look at it.
I put it on Craigslist with no success. No one wanted it for even the rock-bottom price of $10.
Every time I visit a Starbucks at least one person has a laptop in front of them. They may use the coffee shop as a temporary office. Or they may be exploring online sites, emailing friends and enemies, or blogging. Gentle tap, tap, tap on the keyboard, muted lights and colors flying across the screen and over the laptop owner’s faces.
For a retro switch, why didn’t I think of bringing in my old typewriter instead of a laptop? The owner’s manual hyped it as a portable typewriter because of its nifty carrying case. Would the formerly friendly barista throw me out the door when I started up my noisemaker?
I could see it all now. Walk into the store carrying the 20 pound monster, order a coffee, grab a table, set it up, open the case. With a dramatic flourish, pull out a piece of paper and start cranking it into the roller barrel. Loudly flap down the bar that secures the paper onto the barrel. Then start typing.
This 1950s model is energy efficient, it needs no electricity, a green machine in both color and politics. No glow off of any screen, just a cascade of good old manual machine noise and smell.
Ah, typing when it was practically a sport. You needed some amount of strength and endurance in those fingers to keep those keys clanking up and down. Don’t forget about the return carriage, it also carried some weight (and you needed to carry it after every single line of type).
The sound and the fury! Clackity, clackity, clank, DING. I will never know you again.