I hadn’t realised until I put my hands on it, that I hadn’t bought a fairly silly item, something you’d hardly use, and if you did it was almost as a joke, a studied idiosyncrasy sitting in the corner of your living room. I hadn’t realised that I hadn’t bought that at all, until I put my hands on it.
I’ve bought home.
Every unambiguously happy childhood memory I have involves me sitting at a typewriter. There are photographs of me, one very small finger hooked over the keys, and a furiously studious expression on my face, as I plucked out words, letter by letter on Grandad’s enormous, dark green, ancient machine.
They are the only photographs of me, as a child, where I don’t look uncomfortable with being photographed, or as if I’ve arranged my face into what I hope it should be doing rather than having it reflect what is happening inside me. The reason I don’t look uncomfortable with being photographed is because I would have had no idea anyone was photographing me. My hypervigilance was switched off. I was BUSY. I was doing the only thing I ever did that wasn’t in the desperate survival-game pursuit of someone’s momentary approval. I was doing something for me. Just for me. I was in my head, not the world. I was home.
But I forgot.
I can’t say what made me think of it, a few days ago. Something did. I bought the typewriter on a whim, almost immediately regretting it – what foolishness! I won’t use it. It will just clutter the place up, gathering dust.
It does not clutter the place up, it is beautiful, ridiculously, captivatingly beautiful. Unknowingly, I had painted the table ready for it. They are precisely the same colours. And I will use it, because the minute I pressed a key – CLAC! – and remembered the pressure and pace of it, I remembered what a typewriter is. A typewriter is not a computer. You can’t multi-task on a typewriter. You can’t alt-tab into Twitter for a second, or have a quick look at your bank account. None of those real-world pieces of fluff get in your eye, when you sit at the keys of a typewriter.
You sit at the controls of a time-and-worlds machine with the same blank page as god had, 8 o’clock, day one. It only does one thing. It takes you to places. It introduces you to people. It is the TARDIS. It is my home.