I’m in Georgetown, Kentucky this week. I had 90 minutes to spare today, so I zoomed over to the local library, popped open my laptop, and started working on my current project. I realized someone had taken the desk behind me when the clack-clack of an electric typewriter began. I raised my head from the screen, listened to the rhythm, and dove into my work again. Instantly, the typing put me in the zone.
Sometime later, a voice broke through my concentration. I looked to find a woman standing beside my chair, telling the typist, “We have conference rooms, sir, if you’d prefer to work in one.”
“I didn’t think I was making that much noise,” he commented.
The librarian repeated her invitation, and, within seconds, my phone alarm went off. I stopped it and began to pack up. This meant I was turned toward the guy peering over his machine, looking rather dazed.
I said, “I like it, too,” and smiled.
There’s this thing about me, and you probably wouldn’t guess it on first glance. I look pretty normal, but I really can’t say what I mean. Which, coming from my lips, would be interpreted as, “I haz the don’t talk good.”
Oh, I can tell you exactly what I think once I’ve written it out, but the words hardly ever present themselves to me on the fly. And my comment was completely useless in this case because it had no context or meaning to the typist behind me. I’d been thinking, ‘He was told to move because he was making a noise people might not like. But he liked it. And I (aided in my thought processes by the rhythm) liked it, too.’
But, “I like it, too” came across to him as, “I’d like it, too.” It was most unfortunate that he interpreted my comment to mean that I, too, would like it if he grabbed up his typewriter and headed for a conference room.
But I didn’t figure this out until well after he’d given me a hard look and packed up his stuff.
He stomped up to the front desk, and I got to listen to him complain, heatedly, about the rights of typewriter owners everywhere and the undemocratic environment of a library filled with the noises of cell phones and video game devices. (It was true. Though I hadn’t heard any video games, I’d heard 2 seconds of a phone alarm–mine.)
He obviously thought everyone was against him and his trusty typewriter. Only, I wasn’t against them at all. In fact, I’d been contemplating how I could find typewriter background noise to work by in future.
He glared at me again as he headed toward the exit, lifted his typewriter bag, and pointed to it.
“This is coming!” he declared, like a disgruntled prophet out of a fantasy novel.
I shrugged. “I liked it. I didn’t have any problem with it at all!”
As I finished my lengthy-for-me defense, he turned his back and waved his hand over his shoulder.
“Talk to the hand,” he said. “I’m outta here.”
Wizfect, my sensitive little laptop, seemed to take it harder than I did. It wanted to do some updating, perhaps find a comforting code to solace itself.
While I waited for Wizfect to find the strength to go on, I mused about what this man might have been typing up. Was he a writer interrupted, caught off guard by a conscientious librarian? Had his outburst been fueled by a stormy scene, his character inadvertently possessing him in the raging emotions he’d created? Or was he just madly devoted to his typewriter?
I patted Wizfect. To all of these I can relate.