I miss typewriters. I miss the loud, clackety clack. The zzzzzhhhing of the return carriage. Punching the keys to make an impression on the paper. I miss the smell of paper and ink ribbons.
I miss typewriters. But only for a moment.
I couldn't live without computers. I don't miss measuring the paper before putting it in so I don't type to the absolute bottom of the page. I don't miss having to use a messy, blue sheet of carbon paper between two pieces of paper to make a copy. I don't miss correcting mistakes by using correcting tape and then realigning the typewriter and hoping my letters line up.
So why all the nostalgia? I don't know. I do collect typewriters. I wrote on them in college and grad school. I wrote my first (terrible, btw) novel on a typewriter - that one had a daisy wheel. Oh, I'm far more efficient and prolific now that I can cut, paste and delete with reckless (sometimes regretworthy) abandon.
But typing used to be an experience. I don't know - the sound of the keys helped me think. Printing my thoughts directly onto a sheet of paper seemed more permanent - more immediate somehow.
Today, you could write fifty pages on a laptop and until you printed them off, it isn't real. You only had to type one page on a typewriter, and you held that one page (flaws and all) in your hand. It existed.
My kids think I'm completely insane. I have a small, manual typewriter like the kind reporters took with them into the field. To them it's as big as a piano. When I tell them about measuring to make room for footnotes or spending twenty cents a page to make a copy at Kinko's (only in dire circumstances), they laugh hysterically.
The big gift when I graduated high school was a Brother electric typewriter. It weighed 30 lbs. I had to suffer through a semester of typing class to get it. Remember the 80lb. IBM Selectrics and the foldover Gregg textbooks? My grandfather was a travelling typewriter repairman for IBM. He retired in the early '70's. I still find IBM Selectrics with his name written in them as having last been serviced by George Johnson.
I miss typewriters. But would I ever go back to writing on them?
Not a chance.