Learning to type again

I haven’t been as productive as I wanted to be lately. And I’m not blaming the cat, work, or the family. The culprits, believe it or not, are my new laptop and my own fingers. Until last month, I was happily typing away at my old but reliable PC. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to end support of my computer’s OS, Windows XP, and I found myself forced to upgrade. But since I have never had a laptop before I decided to give it a try. I figured that with a laptop I was gaining in mobility and flexibility. No longer tied to my room and desk, I could take myself to the beach and set up shop under a tree or to the library and sit at one of the tables on the second floor, overlooking the garden. Oh, keep dreaming for now, girl. As a device, the laptop works as it should. It’s me who is taking some time to get used to it.
Your pen should be like an extension to your hand, and so should your keyboard, especially if you know touch typing. Unfortunately, with a laptop, familiar keys have a foreign feeling and unexpected results. Blamed it on the cramped conditions or the smaller size. With my laptop, the cursor seems to have acquired a life of it own. I could be on the third paragraph when all of a sudden, the document on the screen does this little funny jumping up and the next word I’m typing is smacked right in the middle of the second line of the first paragraph. How annoying! So I reach for my mouse to click the cursor back to its proper place but oh, I forgot, there’s no mouse. Touch pad, I remind myself. Now I have to take my eyes off the screen to place my index finger on the magical square, trace some little wild loops until I find and position the cursor in the right location. This last step is like taking careful aim so it requires some eye and finger coordination. Once I get that little blinking vertical line right where I want it, I have to take my eyes off the screen once again to locate the touch pad left button. By the time I have the wayward cursor behaving, I have already forgotten what I wanted to type; my creative flow, interrupted. After struggling with the cursor a couple of times, I’ve come to realize how important it is to feel comfortable with the tools we use to do our work. I’ve taken my old PC for granted. The act of writing was smooth because my computer did not “call attention” to itself, did not get in the way. The old keyboard and I were one, so to speak. It will take time (not long, I hope) to get used to the quirkiness of a laptop keyboard and touch pad. I’m getting there. I just have to remember not to rest my hands on the touch pad when I’m typing. On second thoughts, I don’t think I’m going to give up on the mouse.

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