The Remington – Part Two
(Part One is here)
The hotel room had receded into the background, just as the shop had done a mere few hours beforehand. In my eyes there existed only this typewriter, and me. My hands looked so huge; yet even they seemed tiny in comparison to the black monolithic form of my acquisition.
The typewriter beckoned me, and I came. I upended my case searching for blank paper, eager to see if this relic of another age still functioned. I found a ream of paper, fed it a single slice, then typed.
Each hit of the keys sounded like a jarring pipe-organ in my head, so long and resonant. I stopped on the fourth press, fearful that the noise would bring complaints from the other hotel residents. Time stopped as I waited, my hands poised a few inches above the round blackened keys, There came no banging on the walls, or urgent telephone calls from the reception desk, so I continued.
I’m accustomed to a computer keyboard, my fingers more used to just touching the keys than having to physically press them. Now each letter a was statement of fact, each word an effort carrying the weight or several pounds of pressure with every syllable. Yet my fingers travelled that typewriter like never before. Where I had previously been a slow-ish typer, more used to thinking, typing and thinking more – on this mechanical black box my hands flew, the creative process subsuming into my subconscious and talking directly with my fingers.
I fed it sheet after sheet of paper, each one regurgitated complete, error free, prefect. Only when I glanced up did I realize that hours had passed. I leaned back, my back aching from lack of movement and I stretched each finger in turn, the pain in the joins testament to their usage. It was only after I had returned from fetching a glass of water that I discovered the scale of my workload.
Beside the typewriter sat 250 sheets of completed text.
Now, I’m a journalist, accustomed to writing around five thousand words of copy a day. Day in day out, that’s no mean feat given that my day also involves investigation, research and the usual assortment of meetings and adimistrivia.
Before me sat perhaps 100,000 words of my own making, the product of 6 hours intensive typing on an unfamiliar machine.
And I couldn’t remember a word of what I’d written.