Inher(ent)it

“Damn, you type so fast,” my mom calls from the hall.

I lean back in my creaky chair, taken by surprise. My face scrunches before turning into a mask of consideration, and even I’m not entirely sure why. My mom says something else, but I can’t exactly hear her as my thoughts implode.

How did I learn to type so fast?

It’s by no means proper, but sure, it has…. evolved. I fully remembering pecking a keyboard with index fingers as a child, back in the same days I’d hide halfway under the desk because I was still too scared to play Jumpstart 4th Grade—the spooky island one. I used to press the 1-2-3 potion buttons for healing when my dad played the first and second Diablo. He was never good at multitasking on a keyboard, but that didn’t matter. I was just overly thrilled at the chance to play together.

Huh. Still wonder why Diablo didn’t scare me, but that damn Jumpstart game did.

Dad now plays Diablo 3 on the console, and it works for him because everything is so together. The controller that was refined from a solid Nintendo block to a duel-armed alien piece has crafted itself into the perfect grip.

My hands hover above my desktop keyboard. My left ring, middle, and index fingers always rest of Q and W and D, for some reason. My right index, middle, and ring on N, K, and L respectively.

Oof. I’m sure the Masters of WPM would be appalled. In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing when it’s pointed out. But, after growing up, I can play Diablo by myself. And I can hit all the hotkeys I need when using Clip Studio. And, according to my Mom, I can type fast.

A scoff without heat. It wasn’t taught, and it isn’t proper, but like the controller, my hands have optimized themselves for this relationship.

How?

Immediately, I think of my Oma Antje. Grandma Angie. Her story already revealing itself in the changed name, much like mine does to the people who have known me too long.

I see her huddled over her extremely large, ever boxy desktop, eyes narrowed, index fingers cautiously floating above the dangers below. Like me, she’s written an entire novel on that computer, but unlike me she still looks so afraid when she uses it. Or when she uses her new smartphone.

“It’s because she doesn’t want to learn. She doesn’t try.”

But, is it?

In that terrified posture, she typed hundreds of thousands of words on that evil box. No, even more. I know how much editing she has done. How many words she’s carefully rewritten. All to tell the story near and dear to her heart—one about smuggling food and orphaned children and legs getting bombed off and—

My eyes well up. The Void, too close. Intrusive. My mask, back, to considering.

She learned how to use emojis, recently. Something that always makes even me smile. The phone is still a struggle, but she can now express herself with it. For us, I suppose it’s hard to imagine that struggle when you sometimes catch your hands on your own device without even realizing it. But we were born into it, weren’t we? My interests, my vocabulary, my morality– I was even raised by it, wasn’t I?

An absolute trash heap of a song slips into my playlist as Spotify tries guesses my preferences and fails.
I smack the next key so fast, not a single thought in the action, like swatting eraser bits off a burdened piece of paper.

But imagine: a world without this.

She livedit.

Like my dad lived in a world without cellphones.

Like I lived in a world without the internet.

Like how my aunt’s kids will live in the world without whatever else comes along.

Acclimating themselves, in the coming years.

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