The crazy thing is that I started using this machine - known as a T Y P E W R I T E R - just as they were about to become extinct. Word processors were already around, and expensive. And worse, something called a C O M P U T E R was appearing, which, people claimed, could do a lot, including typewriting, a calculating, and digital games (what's that) and a whole lot more. But, even as the era on this machine was winding down, for a youngster like me, paper, typewriter ribbons and tippex (remember that stuff) was cheaper than a word processor and far cheaper than a computer, which required the machine itself, a separate TV like box, and a printer. Really, replacing one machine with three, and you had to plug them all in and into each other?
a) he could still hear me
and less plausibly b) that it was still disturbing him.
My parents, both of them, came to his aid, and I was ordered to maintain
I remember weekends when friends of mine would hover at the door frame, urging me to join them for a burger or some other escapade, and without turning from my machine, I'd promise as soon as I'm done with this (I promise). Entire weekends were spent punching these round finger platforms, retyping an entire page after discovering, to my dismay, a glaring error that was beyond tippex, or a paragraph that needed to be drawn and quartered. Sometimes the work would stop in the wee hours of a Monday morning, sometimes even later, and I'd arrive late at school with no better excuse than that I'd been writing.
Curiously, when I was given essays to write at school, on the occasion that I'd covered the topic before on my own, I'd have to transcribe a typewritten piece to handwriting. Very quickly, my handwriting (something I won innumerable gold stars for once upon a time) was going to blazes. To give you an idea, the word 'the' started missing the 'h' and simply contained a a squiggle with a loop, resembling, I suppose, a spermatazoa suffering from a slight spastic colon in its midrif. I faced off against numerous teachers who accused me of misspelling 'the'. I suggested that I place the squiggle shorthand at the top of a page with an = sign and a painstakingly perfect 'the' beside it, but no one would buy that. I had to write 'the' and that was it.
So the second manuscript turned out to be partly handwritten, typed and word processed. Each transition took a horrible toll on my creative faculties, but somehow I adapted. It took 2 years to complete, and I finished the damn thing on the morning of my matric Science Exam (which I passed, barely).
In those late high school years I owned a ZX Spectrum computer (one of the world's first computers), and a Commodore 64 with a printer and monitor (probably birthday and Christmas presents). That last acquisition permanently ended my relationship with my First Writing Machine, and so it ended up gathering dust in my parents garage for the next 20 years.