tappity

I thought I was so clever. I did the research. I planned and plotted. I waited, too, to be sure.

And then I sprang, I pounced, I purchased. I bought a new keyboard for my Mac, just as the old one gasped its final letter.

And I didn’t buy just any keyboard. I bought the keyboard. It is ergonomic and has buttons that do things like mute my music or bring my mail client to the foreground. Really neat, important things. And it is white, which I wasn’t really digging before I saw it but has grown on me.

The problem is that it sucks. It sucks in a very subtle way, but this way makes me not want to use it.

The keys are half-click, half-smush. They start out with what you think might be a satisfying THARK noise and end with a SPLUSH. Sometimes they even — I cringe even writing this — KLEEK in the middle. Like they need to be oiled. The space bars are the worst, huge Cadillac things that don’t fire half the time. If I type too quickly, my dialogue looks like it is spoken by a frantic crackhead.

This may not be a big deal to you. I fully accept that I am an insufferable prig at times, and especially right now. But I cannot type on it for more than five minutes at a time without becoming unreasonably agitated. I simply hate it. The sound is wrong; the feel is wrong. And because it’s all wrong, I type less, which means fewer of my manuscripts make it past a first draft.

And so, though I hated to do it, I bought a new one. It is not ergonomic and it is not fancy. But because I’ve thoroughly tested one just like it, I know exactly how it feels and sounds, and it feels and sounds right.

It wasn’t until last weekend, while goofing off in an antique shop in the Mission with the MSG, that I realized what “right” feels and sounds like to me, keyboardly-speaking: a typewriter. A big, fat, loud, clunky typewriter, with keys that jam and ribbons that run out and dings and clicks and taps.

If it is possible to devolve, technologically, I am doing so. First the return to a pen-and-paper calendar, now this. What will be next, getting rid of my mobile? Only time will tell. But be sure of one thing: you can pry my iPod out of my cold, dead hands.

6 thoughts on “tappity

  1. I miss the original IBM PC keyboards. Yes, they were big, bulky, and heavy. But they had nice keys that felt rock solid when you pressed them, and they always gave a nice reassuring “click” at the bottom of the key press. I also liked the fact that the keys were spaced for people with large hands…not like this laptop I’m on where I have to consciously be careful not to hit 4 keys at once. They were so well built I swear you could pour a can of pop in them without fear. And you could swat insects on your desk using the keyboard and not worry about breaking it (the keyboard…the safety of the desk was not always such a sure thing) 🙂

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  2. I want a Selectric II sound for my keyboard, myself. That would be the best, because that’s what I grew up with as the typewriter to have.

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  3. Have you used the keyboards on Apple laptops much? I find them to have the ideal springiness and resistance; my fingers can pretty much fly across them. Too bad they don’t make a version of that keyboard for desktops.

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  4. The people who would find this insufferably priggish (none of whom are reading, I would think, but we can pretend they’re in the peanut gallery and throw things at them) are underestimating the importance of tactile feedback. Typing on a keyboard you don’t like is a very irritating experience. I won’t buy one without trying it first. I like my keyboards as snappy as possible — I want to know I hit a key. Mushy keyboards are like typing on play-doh.

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