I just finished watching a piece about typewriters on the show Sunday Morning; it made me want to run out and buy myself a sexy red vintage typewriter (or even the sexy black Bentley-like machine pictured above). I totally flashbacked to my typing class back in high school which I took great pleasure in. I remember we had a teacher who was a 70s throwback with long hair, a beard, and a laid back attitude. He would set us up with our assignment for the day and off we’d go, the thunderous clickety clack of 15 students all typing at once trying to outdo each other in words per minute, all our teacher cared about was accuracy. I love the convenience of using computers but there are reasons to dig a typewriter too:
· The keystroke has more of a distance to travel between stamp and paper, so you get more depth with each hit creating more of a satisfyingly hard sound when key hits paper.
· The hard smooth feel of typewriter keys; if you’ve used one before there’s a little depth to the key, almost like a round shallow crater where your fingertips fit perfectly. Computer keyboards have that too but definitely not as deep.
· There is no grammar/spell check; can’t rest on your laurels and assume the machine will catch your errors, so keeps your mind sharper.
· When finishing a sentence there’s a since of accomplishment when you hear that DING letting you know you’re on to the next line.
· Hand in hand with the DING is the pushing of the carriage back to the left to begin the next line
· The rolling in and out of the paper; I used to love cranking a fresh piece of paper preparing to begin another page; the equivalent of staring at the cursor on a computer is the same as looking at that empty ‘key hole’ before you commit that first keystroke.
· I even loved the smell of white out and miss using it; of course you only want to use in moderation because the paper would look sloppy otherwise, but whiteout was such a good fix for the occasional correction.
In my fantasy office, I would totally have a typewriter for those moments where I’m feeling special and just want that visceral feel of cranking some paper, pounding some keys, hearing the DING and pushing the carriage, all while enjoying the visual stimulation that is a vintage typewriter. Doesn’t hurt to know there is a man whose family has owned a typewriting repair shop for years making it possible to buy a typewriter and actually be able to get it repaired; only downer, he’s in Arizona so a little far to fix me up but if I found the right machine it might be worth the shipping costs.