Large pulsating walls of sound have me curled up into a pleasant daze as I cruise down I-80 after work, the Bay Bridge towering on the horizon, when some P.O.S. Volvo cruises by me with a gut-wrenching twisted-devil of an engine failure sound that totally fucks up my headspace. "Jesus," I think, "time to take that puppy to the shop, ya think?"


The passenger-side window shatters into cascading crystals of glass that abrasively scrawl across my mental landscape, seriously stressing my evening highway-commute home. Ripped so from my daze, I find a Zen-like moment of clarity. "Fuck. The Volvo may be a piece of shit, but that's my car in its death throes." A quick survey of the status lights confirms this with a flashing Check Engine of death. "Now if I can only get it 10 miles back home to its nightly residence at the curb."

Yes, we chronic computer users suffer from the dire, ever-ready-to-pounce affliction known inimically as C.T.S. "Hello, my name is mcd and I'm a C.T.S. sufferer." Against my doctor's wishes and in the hopes of retaining my job, I drive a manual with just one hand, and a combination of either knee. "Yes, of course I can type with one-hand productively." I had amicably informed my boss. "No, I wouldn't think of driving in this condition." I had gravely informed my doctor. "I must continue in this fashion with this stanky Volvo-like splint and do everything one-handed for at least a month?" I ask myself incredulously.


The Lost Highway

Either the car or the massive dose of depression I acquired from being recently fired has just kicked into high-gear. "Wait, they can't fire me for having C.T.S. - Unemployment checks better be involved here. I saved their technical asses!" I manage this somewhat complete thought while brushing off chunks of glass from my sleeve, sure that this car is going to start burping flames at any moment.


The cellphone rings. It is her. Though we have only been seeing each other for about a week, she is my lifeline amidst the chaos. Suddenly time is slowing down. I could listen to the glass trill its tinkling for eternity. I down-shift into 3rd while signaling and exiting the highway; turn the volume on the stereo down. Simultaneously, I answer the call.

mcd : Hello, angel.

her : in British accent I am so sorry that you got fired, that is so fucked up... and wrong. That's terrible! Is there anything I can do to help?

mcd : You already have, luv. You already have.

After I kill the mobile I run my hand through my hair, light a cigarette, and pump up the Infected Mushroom as I make my way through my hometown smiling the entire time.

I'm off to see her for the night. It's been a hell of a day and life is good.

There is something about typing on a computer that I find distasteful. The precision of it. The ability to remove any mistakes made and correct the sentence construction with a few clicks and the touch of a button - only the slightest trace remaining in the systems memory and your own. It is so clinical, so precise – it feels as if one of the most fundamental human aspects of writing has been removed: that extra dimension found in handwriting.

By typing your text, everything may be completely legible - but what of the other dimensions to writing? A handwritten piece communicates far more to the reader than simply the ideas conveyed through the words. The writer's handwriting style can often tell you much about their character, and their mood when they were writing. You can tell whether the writing was written in a hurry. You can tell whether the writer was scrambling to keep up with a train of thought that was struggling to stay confined to the railway. See what his intent was through the legibility of the piece - is every letter carefully formed and every piece of punctuation perfectly inserted so that his message could be readable for the largest possibly audience? Or does he write in a way which suggests that he doesn't care much if anyone reads the piece or not? Perhaps he was angry, and the pen comes close to breaking through the paper in parts.

I change my writing tools depending on my intent. Notes and reminders are hastily scribbled across whatever I can find – I have no less than 3 notepads open around my room, ready to jot down whatever comes to mind. For more complex ideas, I tend to use pen and paper again, but I take care with what I write – forcing myself to slow down my writing so that I can develop my idea further even as I write it. For letters, I tend to take up a calligraphy pen to demonstrate to the recipient that I put some time, thought and effort into what I was writing.

What all of this says about me and my character is up to you, the reader. This node was drafted on paper and rewritten into a word processor before eventually being copied and formatted for E2. I am not a luddite, new technology is something which I love and enjoy working with. I just thought I might share with the community some thoughts that occurred to me. Through writing down these thoughts as they occur to us, we not only develop them further, we crystallize them in our mind so that they remain, even if we choose to delete the mistakes we make.

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