Thursday, January 28

Where is My Avis?

I wish I had a penpal.

When I was younger I was a TERRIBLE penpal. But now I'm grown and I think I would enjoy the old fashoned-ness of it. I have a typewriter that my husband has tried to throw away several times. But I continue to protest. I cite here my many uses:

Poetry comes out better on a typewriter
I enjoy the hum of the motor ... or whatever makes an electric typewriter run
I like the deliberate process of typing on the keys
I like the crooked letters
I like to press the shift key
If I had a penpal, I could write lovely letters and then sign my name at the bottom. In pen.

Typing on a computer is not the same. You can backspace, you can type nearly as fast as your thought process, you can delete entire sections and paste them somewhere else. When you type on a typewriter you think hard. You can't just spit out pages and pages of garbage because a: you're slow, garbage doesn't come out AS MUCH when you're typing slower and b: that would be a waste of trees. My granny had a typewriter and I would practice typing on it, playing secretary when I was stuck at her house for weeks at a time during my summers off of school. When Grandpa died and I found his old blue typewriter, I lunged for it. Old Blue comes in its own carrying case. It smells dusty and delicious, like thoughts and fingers and years of words. How could I ever throw it out?

But I should take advantage of it. I really just need to plug it in and start writing letters. Just boring stuff, the day to day of life. In Jane Austen's time letter writing was like an Olympic sport. It's time for me to participate. I'm going to pick a random address in some nice town in Anywhere, USA and mail a letter. I will describe myself and tell my new friend that I am searching for my own Avis. If they want to be my Avis, all they need do is respond. Avis was Julia Child's penpal. She accidentally mailed a letter to her and they started corresponding. They became such good friends; Avis was the one who helped Mastering the Art of French Cooking get published. The best thing about a penpal is the waiting. Waiting by the mailbox in hopes of a letter coming. And getting to know someone a little at a time. I tend to get so excited when I meet someone that I just go BLAH and tell them everything about me in two point eight seconds. Then I become the bore I really am and they don't want to talk to me ever again. With a penpal, you have to go slow and they probably won't find out what a snooze I am for at least a year. Wow. I am so excited. Now, I know that it will probably take several tries before I receive a response and actually GET a penpal. But this is as good a start as any.

Next, I'm going to work at bringing back formal dinner parties. Who's with me?

4 comments:

Katherine, Mat, Lukas and baby said...

I wouldn't say you were a horrible penpal. Remember when we used to write notes to each other in code and hide them in boxes under your tree in the front yard? If you were to horrible, my bow would have always been empty!
I think you should get a penpal that is "old". Someone that would understand and appriciate the reference to Avis. Possible that knew who Julia Child was before she was played bt Meryl Streep! And as for formal dinner parties... I am with you. We have them every so often, but we go out. Somewhere most people our age either a: haven't heard of or b: can't afford (not that we can either, but sometimes you just have to). Next time, you two will be on the guest list!

Tasha said...

I would love to attend a formal dinner party, as long as you dress me:) I still remember my penpal, something kush from Minnesota... I will have to find it now!

Caitlin said...

Jo, funny you say that because I am throwing a formal dinner party for a friend's birthday next week. As in, invitations, placecards, "cocktail attire," the whole shabang. I would seriously love to start a dinner group.

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