Today, I completed an item from my bucket list. I typed a page of poetry on a working, original typewriter. It was all thanks to a good friend's great-aunt who used that typewriter when she was young as a secretary. He brought it out from a storage area in his basement, in a brown case. It was heavy, and I was dying of anticipation. When we opened it, it was one of the most beautiful and satisfying sights of my life. I imagine it felt the same as when your baby pops out with all four limbs.
It had a beautiful green base, black keys and a working ribbon, dark green knobs. It was absolutely ravishing. I was so excited just to see it, and when I started pushing the keys; I can't even begin to explain the happiness in my heart. The sound of a typewriter is possibly one of the most satisfying sounds I've ever heard in all of my life. While he went to search for paper, I was content to just clack away on the keys, seeing the hammers hit the black roll, listening to the sounds. I hit the space bar 100 times, and the cartridge made it to the end. Tentatively, I pushed the lever that would return it. The sound it made, the distinctive ding and swoosh, the satisfaction of hearing and seeing the motion; it was unreal. The feel of the keys was weird at first, so different from modern keyboards, like little levers to push down. I can imagine how tired someone’s fingers must have gotten after spending an entire day typing on a typewriter.
Look at him! So beautiful!
They’re truly amazing machines, and I explored the mechanics of it for a while, watching the hammers reach up, strike the ribbon, studying the mechanism that moved the cartridge along. It was just so damn cool. My fascination with typewriters started back when I was 9 years old in India. I went to my great-uncle’s house, who is a judge. In his old study room, I saw a beautiful brown typewriter. It wasn’t in a case and it hadn't been used in quite some time, so it wasn’t in the best condition.
But it still worked, and it was already loaded with paper, and to my eyes, it was the most extraordinary, unreal, and magnificent thing I’d ever laid my eyes on. We weren't supposed to be touching things, but I typed a few letters on it anyways. The ribbon had nearly dried up, so the letters were faint, but it was so satisfying to type on that typewriter. Since then, it’s been a dream of mine to own a working, classic typewriter. All of my fantasies of my future home office (and I’ve had a lot of them) invariably have a typewriter on the grand mahogany desk.
But more than anything, this experience in the basement of my friend’s house with his incredible typewriter was a lesson in passion. Some things make you feel so strongly, and there’s no explanation for it. You just love it. It fills you up with a kind of joy that other people might not be able to understand, but that is irrevocably there for you. For my friend, that passion was in his collection of Legos. He so vehemently and excitedly shared with us about all of his Lego collections, about how much time and money he’s put into them, about how special they are to him. His voice lit up, his face was animated. I couldn’t empathize with the Legos, but I could understand the way he felt. It's moving to see someone talk about their passion.
In life, these passions are things that you have to grab on to and hold tight, I’ve learned. No matter how illogical they may seem. If it brings you genuine joy, it’s important. If you maybe had a passion, that you had to give up on because life and its antics got in the way, remind yourself about them. Make time for them. Do what brings you joy, what makes you feel alive. Yes, I’m a geek and a nerd and weirdo for being so disproportionately fascinated by typewriters, but it makes me happy. You can’t care about what other people think; their opinions are temporary.
Find your passion and don’t let go of it.