Friday, January 29, 2010

Portable & High Speed

I'm feeling a bit proud of myself tonight. I'm sitting here in my cozy spot on the couch posting to my blog. How cool is that for someone living in her sixth decade? Pretty cool I guess, but not as cool as the journey it took to get here.

About the time I took my first typing class in high school, the bank where my mother worked in Albuquerque decided that computers just might be the wave of the future. She worked nights processing data on those huge, Coke machine sized, reel to reel monsters in a dust proof, climate controlled room. Data processing took up a whole floor, what with the key punch machines, printers, collators, etc. I got my first part-time job there, searching for mistakes that the keypunch operators made and balancing the run-sheets on long, green and white tractor paper that came out of the hideously loud printer. Those early computers used tons of paper and were nothing the general population could even imagine owning. And yet now I sit here with a notebook sized machine, connected to no discernible source of power, sending a message out to anyone in the world who cares to read it.

Pretty cool, but let's go back a little further. That typing class - I remember all of us girls sitting ramrod straight, each in her assigned seat in the rows of old upright manual typewriters. That first week we practiced 'A ; S L D K F J G H' over and over until our fingers cramped. Soon we learned to reach for the keys above and below and worked until we could find the keys without peeking. Then we practiced to build up speed. Women in the workplace weren't really the norm then...we just worked until we married, then our homes became our careers. Had I known what the future held, I'd have paid more attention in that typing class.

I've never been without a typewriter, be it an old Royal upright, an IBM Selectric, or one of those little Brother Word Processors that just had a Word still had to thread your paper into it and print what you had typed, but at least you had the option of correcting it before printing. I didn't get my first real computer until ten years ago. I had notes plastered all over the walls with instructions on how to send an email, connect to the Internet, etc. I didn't learn about 'ctrl, alt., delete' until a friend sent some kind of weird email regarding the high heat of summer that made the picture on the screen appear to 'melt' - I panicked and had no idea how to make it stop. I learned though, and now 'ctrl, alt, delete' and 'ctrl Z' are my best friends. I'm sure there are others I should learn but those two cover most of my anxieties.

Whatever, it's been a long journey to this cozy little afternoon tete a tete with this computer. I still don't have a Blackberry, but I do have a cell phone. Texting isn't for eyes are just too old to read those tiny letters and the abbreviations confuse's like learning a foreign language. I know LOL, but that's about it. I watch the young girls at work texting under their desks where the boss can't see...they go so fast, their fingers fairly fly. I just sit there with my BFF (coworker my own age) and say 'OMG! How do they do that?' Then we go back to discussing our scores on or the latest thing we've done on Farmtown.