She was a fantastic stenographer for me in those days, and did her fair share of editing that made me sound much smarter than I was (even smarter than I am today probably!) Thanks mom! You rock!
One thing that amazed me was the speed at which she typed. I am no slow talker by any means. And it only gets worse when I'm trying to outline something that needs to be written. If you could hear the random trains leaving my thought station while I blog each day you would no doubt be sidetracked and get caught on a thought train that will never reach a destination and likely never return to the station from whence it came. In fact if you're still reading this paragraph you're already on one !!!
My father was no slouch when it came to typing either, but he was always quicker on a Sears computer running numbers or perusing data from some sales report. Kudos dad ... life skills man, life skills!
Both of my parents learned to type on an actual typewriter, so their fingers are still ingrained with the memory of pushing hard, very specifically, and ONLY in designated areas. I think every once in a while you can still catch my mom reaching up to smack the return bar (I have no idea what the real name of it is but it's the thing that rings and then you have to push it all the way back over before you can begin typing on the next line). By the way, that little journey was another lost thought train. Sorry, but think of all the rewards miles you're racking up!
I ... am a hunt-and-peck typist. I ... only use my index fingers and thumbs on both hands. On occasion my pinkie finger (only on the right hand) will jump in the fray, but he has to be super quick or the other fingers will stare at him with such disdain that he runs all the way home shouting "Wheeee-wheeee" (or was that the little piggie?!) Yup ... you just wasted some more time on another train of thought headed to nowheresville.
I also ... would be unable to type if there were no letters on the keyboard. One of my co-workers switched a few letters on my keyboard as a joke once.
It wasn't funny.Everyone got e-mails from me with completely incomprehensible words (because where the T used to be was now a Q and the J had been swapped with the F). The sad thing is, I had to ask him to put the keys back in the right places because I had no idea where they were supposed to be.
Despite these "issues" ... I am still quite a fast typist. No where near my mom's 1,000 words per second (or whatever is a really good but not impossible number). The funny thing is, I still put my hands on the keyboard the way you are properly supposed to. To the casual observer, you'd likely never even notice that I am only using a few fingers and one big fat thumb on the space bar.
Another co-worker at work was impressed with my typing prowess and happened to be sitting at my desk one day. About halfway through a note I needed to send before we could "catch up," she startled me by saying quite loudly if I may say so "What are you doing?!" I panicked for a moment and then asked what she meant. She said "You're just using like three fingers to type. How on earth are you that fast? Why do you even put your hands on the keyboard? Are you even looking at the keys?" ... and on and ON.
Turns out I am not actually confined to looking at the keyboard. I still do most of the time, but have since that interaction I often notice that I haven't looked at the keys in quite a while. Then my brain freaks out and says "Hey you idiot ... you better look at the keyboard or you're going to type something wrong!" I wish my brain didn't think I was an idiot, but what are ya gonna do?! That thought train should just crash into a mountain and end in a fiery explosion. BOOM!
So next time you see me and we're near a computer and you need a good laugh ... ask me to type something and then you can be amazed and depressed (yes that is the word I want to use ... not IMpressed, DEpressed) at my ridiculous typing style. I might even show you my retired thought trains ... I have quite a collection of them. :)