One night I met a man who had gone to the mount and came back with a typewriter. Mount Ainslie, it was, in Canberra. An Underwood, I believe. “A fine old thing,” he said, “firmly welded (with rust)”.
This man - a novellist, by chance - and I had met at a time when my passion for typewriters was, happily - for my finances (not to mention my sanity) - undergoing one of its cooling phases. Still, I had looked forward, as always, to seeing yet one more blessed if decrepit writing machine in the metal, confident my desire to possess it would be nil. Other things were on my fevered mind.
This could be the last time,
Maybe the last time
I don’t know, oh no, oh no …
People who hunt and collect are often rightly regarded with some suspicion. This sort of pastime is, after all, closely related to hoarding and other psychiatrically-recognised branches of compulsive obsessive behavior. And, as such, it contains within it at least a modicum of madness. Well, slight mental instability, shall we say. Yet, as aflamed as I may get, totally manic I am not (at least not all of the time).
As this happened, the time when I met this man had been healthy in all regards. For one thing, among very many others, I had been able to contemplate from an increasingly detached and amused distance the fixations of other, like-minded souls. I had joined two typewriter collecting forums on Yahoo, both based in the
. One member remarked, as if stipulating a prerequisite, “Looney minds think alike”. As bombarded as I felt each morning, working my way through dozens of emails, about the joys of working the Dvorak keyboard, using a Senatorial typeface, replacing typeslugs with playing card symbols, ratcheting platens and unscrewing escapements, it was nonetheless a delight to sense a touch of humour coming through it all. United States