Right Thumb Typing

My recent blog posts have been done on my phone. Even though I am left-handed, I’m typing almost exclusively with my right thumb. Either I’m not as left-handed as I thought or the tapping out letters requires less manual dexterity than holding onto the phone as I type.

A little of blogging is done on the couch at home, but most of it happens on the bus going to or from work. This is a perfect time. I can’t do it on the job because I’m paid to write code, not blog posts. When I’m home, I like to spend most of my time hanging out with Becca, tell her bad jokes, and generally be silly with her.

My old blogging method was to first scribble into a spiral notebook and type into a computer later. This sounds like a lot of extra work, but it really was necessary at the time. I was doing most of scribbling in a bar, trying to get what I could on paper before the whiskey fogged over my brain completely. The result was often a semicoherent mess that needed a lot of cleanup before putting it online.

After trading my barstool for a bus seat for my after-work downtime, I initially stayed with my old method, minus the booze, of doing longhand first drafts. That didn’t work too well due to motion sickness. If I don’t look out the window from time to time, my eyes and inner ear get in a pissing contest that trickles down into my gut and makes me nauseous.

This made the amount of writing I got done on the bus drop to almost nothing. The one exception was when I was doing NaNoWriMo in November 2015. Then I was supposed to feel sick to my stomach because I had 50,000 words to write and one month to do it. It’s something to be endured and was intended to be sustainable so my writing diligence did a predictable nose dive on December 1.

Writing on my phone, the outside is always visible from the corner of my eye. The queasiness never gets too bad as long as bus is on the freeway.

It’s nice to have a situation I can live with.

In a way, it reminds me of what my father had to deal with when I was maybe six years old. Dad used to race motorcycles.  He didn’t win a lot of races, but it didn’t kill him either and there is some measure of winning that comes from that alone. Anyway, Dad’s racing days came to an abrupt halt when he (in racers’ parlance) stepped off his bike, which resulted in breaking his collarbone and six ribs.

I was sitting next to Dad on the flight and eating my in-flight meal. This was in the late 1960s, back when food was served for free in coach, flight attendants were called stewardesses, and people in the back of the plane were not only allowed but encouraged to smoke.

It was a magical time for many, but not for my father on that day. He was wearing a vest cast and was in enough pain to put a serious damper on his mood. I thought it would be funny to pretend to smash my fist down on a mustard packet that was on my fold-down tray. It turned out I was better at the smashing than the pretend.

To audible gasps from my mother and brother, my eyes followed a trail of mustard spots going from my tray to my father’s. When I looked up, there was a big yellow glob hanging off his cheek.

“I can still kick you,” he said.

Dad was finding a way to make the most of what he could do in his situation with multiple broken bones just as I have with my mild car sickness. OK, maybe these two sets of circumstances don’t really compare,  but that does not change the fact that I can bang out entire blog posts using just my thumb on a hand that I don’t even write with.

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