I have an old typewriter in my new apartment. As some of you might know, I have a secret fascination with old typewriters. They are sexy. They are rusty. However, the thing that I find most attractive about them is that they are more real than, lets say, a computer or an iPhone.
Of all the devices that we have typed/written on in the past century, typewriters remain the only ones that left a physical reminder of the words you just wrote. These little reminders came in many shapes and forms. Sometimes as aching fingers after typing a long, angry letter, which reminded you of what you had written for hours, perhaps days.
The countless balled sheets of paper lying lifeless on the floor after writing a love-letter, as you worded and reworded every sentence only to scratch it all and begin again, kept reminding you of how much you love her.
Sometimes these tiny reminders took shape of awkward blotches of ink on your fingers and palms. Colorful, messy little messages as if the typewriter was talking back to you. Pompously critiquing the letter of recommendation or sometimes fighting back with the angry words you just threw at it.
Typewriters are sexy. They are also wise. They contain residue of millions of words that were typed but never sent. Lonesome love-letters, wishful prayers, friendly hellos, jealous “Dear Diary”s, hopeful movie-scripts that were never used, millions of songs that were never sung. They contain broken words of many poems that were never read again and countless first paragraphs to a book.
I stood at this typewriter in my apartment today and just looked at it for a while. I touched the “R” key and it jumped to life. I wondered who was the last person to touch this very old “R” key. I wondered if somehow I was magically connected to this person now. I wondered what must have been the last word this “R” key was used to type. “Amor”? What if it was some other language and not Spanish? What if it was an angry word or a swear-word?
Today’s technology is great. But it lacks personal connection. I do not feel as attached to my MacBook Air’s keyboard as I did to this typewriter’s. The iPhone is great, but certainly not romantic. I haven’t decided yet if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But as I left that typewriter to drift back into its reverie, I typed a one last word – THANKS.