Earlier today I was talking to my sister Vicki, and she was saying how she and her husband were having difficulties with a new device that I confess would mystify me as well.
“Because we’re stupid,” she explained.
“You are not stupid,” I assured her. “You are OLD.”
I surmised that she would rather be stupid. Be that as it may, here is my story about how today I was old, and Old School.
First, a confession. I am usually last-minute with the murder mysteries I write, especially the conclusions. I am not going to try to explain it, much less justify it, but there it is. I had the script typed into my laptop and emailed to my actors this morning (yes, I was last minute, or perhaps last hour for that). I had to go to Basloe Library to print it out for a few of us. The others were able to print their own. I like to save the conclusion for the first rehearsal, to see if the actors are as mystified as I hope the audience will be. In this case, I had not finished writing it. Don’t judge me.
I had thought I would have it written by now and print it out at the library, perhaps making copies at Hummel’s Office Plus. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not. However, all was not lost. I could finish it today, and type it into my desk top, which is still good for word processing purposes. I just had to get a new cartridge for the printer and print out sufficient copies. No problem. I got Steven to get the cartridge out, and off I went to Hummel’s to say, “I need one of these.”
Did I mention that my desk top is kind of old? They didn’t have the cartridge I needed. The fellow I talked to thought they could order it and have it by Tuesday, which was too late for a Sunday rehearsal, and then he found out he couldn’t even get it. I asked about typewriter ribbons, thinking of my minor collection of typewriters. They have cartridges for Brotherton electric typewriters and that was all. Oh dear.
I tried Wal-Mart. A nice man there looked on the shelf, although he was pretty sure they did not have it. Indeed, they did not. He showed me a couple of printers I could purchase, ink included. I could hook these up to my laptop, with or without wires. That would be perfect! Alas, I am not beforehand enough with the world to just make a purchase like that. Still, if all else failed, I could keep it in mind. After all, Wal-Mart is open all night, and I have a credit card.
Back home, I went up to the attic and looked for typewriters. First I found several notebooks empty or mostly so. Score! I always need more notebooks. Then I saw a really old one, but the ribbon was dry (I put a scrap of paper in and checked) (yes, my attic is quite messy and there was plenty of paper handy). Ah, there was my electric typewriter, which did not look like a Brotherton. I brought it downstairs anyways. The ribbon was pretty sad. No good.
I remembered seeing a Smith-Corona upstairs, such as my mother used to have many years ago. I remembered buying it at a garage sale some time ago and purchasing a new ribbon for it. It was some years ago, but maybe the ribbon was still good. I brought it down. No ribbon at all! I went up to the library (that is what we call one of the bedrooms that we put all our books in). I had some idea that the ribbon might be there. I don’t know why, but I looked. There was another Smith-Corona typewriter! I didn’t remember that I had two, but so I do. And this one had a ribbon!
After ascertaining that the ribbon still had ink, I found that my fingers are no longer up to a manual typewriter. In my defense, it was the 1980’s when I was in the habit of using one. I took the ribbon out and put it into the electric typewriter. I soon found that this typewriter had a lot more problems than needing a ribbon. Never mind the fact that I didn’t put the ribbon in correctly and it kept slipping off the holders. The “b” key stuck, the “t” didn’t work at all, this was a mess! I couldn’t compose at this keyboard!
OK, I told myself. Just write out the conclusion, then worry about typing it. If worse came to worse, I could just email it to everyone and beg those with printers to print out extra copies for us that needed them. It turned out pretty easy to write, and fit in nicely with what came before. Does that mean I should have just gone ahead and written it earlier, or that I needed to wait this long for it to be so good? We’ll pretend it was the second. I tried to type it up, dealing with the erratic ribbon and bad keys. It did not go so well. For one reason, the ribbon wasn’t moving along as it is supposed to, so I was typing everything on the same little bit of ink.
Finally I put the ribbon back on the machine I found it on and typed in that damn conclusion. I kept making stupid typos, which I could not correct, being on a typewriter not a computer, but I persevered. It actually got a little easier as I went. I got it done in time to get back to Hummel’s to make copies. Woohoo!
Wow! I am over 900 words! What a post! I hope you remember the reference in my headline. Truman Capote famously said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.” Well, Truman, sometimes you do both.