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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Old habits die hard...

I learned to type on my Mother's electric Remington (okay, I know that dates me!). It sat at a place of honor on the kitchen counter, with its black cover ready to be lifted off at the slightest typing emergency. I loved to watch my mother type, her fingers flying, the merry ring of the carriage chiming out every ten seconds or so. Usually there was a cigarette burning down to a long ash in the ashtray by her side, and a cup of coffee, brewed from the Folger's can, growing cold.To see her type was to witness glimmers of a self that had existed before I was born: a woman who dressed in heels and lipstick, and took the subway to work in Manhattan.

I sat at that typewriter after school, whenever I could, and pecked out The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back over and over, until I could type it by touch alone. And then I practiced more and more, until I could take the typing tests for various and sundry temp jobs over the years, never quite making it to my mother's 100 words per minute, but giving a decent showing of 60 or so. Those were the days of white-out; every mistake cost you something.

My mother and I were both taught to put two spaces after the period at the end of a sentence. Several years ago I learned that was incorrect, but didn't know until now why. Thanks to this witty article in Slate.com, I now understand why something we'd all been doing wrong could be perpetuated through the years. I love the way this writer is so passionate about spaces! I can get the same way about the incorrect use of "lie" and "lay" but I'll save that for another time.....

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.single.html

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