Zestful Blog Post #185
Not long ago a new acquaintance—a fellow author—turned to me and said, “I hate you.” The context was neither a political argument nor a discussion of whether Star Wars IV-VI could ever be surpassed.
No, we were sitting side by side in a conference session, and I was taking notes on my computer, typing on the keyboard. Usually I take notes longhand on paper, if at all, but I wanted to catch everything in this particular presentation.
When the speaker paused, this new acquaintance, who had been watching me out of the corner of her eye, said, “You can type as fast as he can talk.”
I shrugged modestly. (I’ve gotten so good at those modest shrugs!)
“And you don’t make mistakes.”
“I hate you.”
Jesus, lady. Of course I knew she meant, “I envy you.” Why do people say I hate you instead? Whatever. Yeah, I can touch-type pretty accurately, and I’m always surprised when other authors can’t. Probably one of the most pragmatic decisions I ever made in high school was to take a one-semester typing class. I was already writing lots of papers and stories, and college was in the offing. At that time, however, part of the female zeitgeist was like, “Don’t learn to type, because then you’ll just be a secretary forever!”
[My keyboard. Oh, and there’s Cheetoh, the baby dinosaur I rescued at the beach last year. He likes to hang out on my desk.]
I was all for the women’s movement, and I certainly perceived the need for it, but I thought, isn’t it like cutting off your nose to spite your face, to NOT learn something because of some principle? (I mean, you could always lie and say you can’t type, right?)
Then after college I got a job as a reporter/photographer, and I sure had to type fast for that. Ahh, that good old IBM Selectric… If absolute certainty had an aural profile, it would be the sound of an IBM Selectric ripping along on 20-lb bond.
Needless to say, I cherish my typing skills now more than ever. Do they teach touch typing (meaning without looking at the keys) in schools these days? Ah, a quick search reveals it’s now called ‘keyboarding skills.’ OK. If you Google ‘how to type’ you’ll find free tutorials on line. Because it’s never too late to learn. Honestly, it’s great not to have to think about the physical act when you’re putting ideas down; it’s great not to have a skill barrier between you and your output.
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