Learning to Type

Yesterday, I found myself telling Barbara how I learned to type
        on a Royal with blank keys. "Me, too!" she said. Not for the first time,
I notice how precise the locution "found myself" because I did

        coalesce out of the mist of reverie, boredom, rage & obsession
that characterizes much of my conscious existence. Amanda said,
        "I love manual typewriters," so with no effort whatsoever, I found myself

sitting at a huge conference table with two other humans
        who'd learned to type as I had & loved as I do those intricate, indestructible
artifacts that made text texture, whether erasable bond, yellow sheets

        bearing shreds of wood pulp, mimeograph masters, or luxurious cotton-rag
got rolled round the platen. Bob was there, too, but he couldn't share
        our passion, having grown up when blackboards were green. If the meeting

hadn't begun, I would've broached the subject of carbon paper
        since we'd already drained our fund of commentary on the absurd
wind & heat of November & the lost tongue of Atlantis

        in which our bosses compose emails. Barbara is always cheerful. I barely know her but felt a pang when she said this was not only
        her last meeting, but her last day. What a smile punctuated that sentence!

The room in which I learned to type may have been filled
        with Remingtons, workings so silken, no oiled ratcheting that smooth
since the moment my mother's Olivetti seized up for good.

        Next time, I'll mention the one-room schoolhouse where first grade
found me pondering the slate blackboard, hearing erasers
        clapped on bricks, admiring the ten pieces of blue chalk Mrs. McCauley

pressed into the bracket she pulled with one walking stroke across
        the newly washed board, the first staff I'd ever seen, then the G-clef,
then the bass. Bob will be there. Doug, too. Susan will no longer

have a conflict & Amanda will once again chair. It'll be January by then.

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