The tragedy of being

By Mir
March 29, 2006

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I feel the need to discuss typing. Right here, right now. Can you touch type? I can touch type, if by “touch type” you mean “type rapidly without looking at the keys.” But if you take “touch type” to mean “type the way they teach you in school,” then no, I admit it. I cannot.

I suffer from a rare disorder known as… ummm… Uncoordinated Pinkies.

So I touch type, but I move my hands around too much, because I cannot, in fact, use my pinkies to depress keys. My pinkies are useless. With my current method, I can still type about 80 wpm. Just imagine how speedy I’d be if I typed properly!

Okay, we now return you to our regularly scheduled somewhat cohesive post.

So today it is quite tragic to be me, you know. Let me count the ways.

Last night Monkey had a bad dream. Let me tell you a fascinating fact about being post-menopausal that seems to be true for all the post-meno women I know, even the ones on hormone replacement (and thus is a highly scientific finding, not to mention embedded within an impressively long and awkward sentence): After menopause, waking up in the middle of the night nearly always means STAYING AWAKE. I have no idea why estrogen plays a key role in being able to get back to sleep after being awoken from a deep slumber, but apparently it does. I suffer no other menopause symptoms (thank you, Vivelle Dot, my one and only true love), but when I’m disturbed in the night, forget it. I’m wide awake, mentally composing nasty limericks about my dearly departed ovaries.

So it was not so much with the sleeping, last night.

This morning, I had a metric ton of work to complete. True, some of that was due to procrastination on my part, but hey, details. Not important. I got the kids off to school and sat down to work. And I spent the entire day writing, because–oh yeah!–that’s what I do now. For work. I write! I love to write! Really!

So I wrote all day and got most of my stuff done, and then I fetched the kids from school, and realized that I still needed to put up a post over at BlogHer, which caused me to heave a loud sigh of put-upon-ness, such as you would expect from someone who did not WANT to write. (Did I ever mention that I’m writing over there now? Cuz, um, I am.) So I put together a post over there and thought to myself, “Hooray! Self, you have done an awful lot of writing today! Way to go!”

And then tonight I realized that I needed to post here, as well, and I thought, “GODDAMNIT, WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS WHOLE BLOGGING THING, ANYWAY?”

It’s possible I could use a break. But there is no rest for the wicked. I wanted to be a writer, and now I write, and complain about it. Which just goes to show you that not even a career change can alter my basic propensity for whining.

But you know, no matter what your particular trauma at any given time, someone else always has it worse. And if you’re me, the person who has it worse is one of my kids.

Today it is also tragic to be Chickadee, in a way which she is now old enough to be embarrassed about. I was on the phone with a friend and said, “Well, Chickadee seems to have a stomach bug. She–” and she practically LEAPT off the couch crying out “DON’T SAY IT! DON’T TELL!”

My little girl is growing up. *sniffle* Out of respect for her, I will not tell. I will only say that it was a beautiful day, and we came home and the kids were playing outside, happily. And then… ummm… Chickadee was… less happy. And in need of a shower. And quite clearly not feeling her best. So.

It’s a good thing I got a lot done today, because I suspect tomorrow is going to be a wash. For me and my girl. We’ll just be the Tragic Sisters. Perhaps we can sing duets. About working too hard and… ummm… ginger ale. If we get bored, maybe I’ll teach her to type. I’m sort of wondering if my pinky condition is genetic.


  1. J

    My daughter still brags about the two times she puked in my bed. Intestinal issues? She’s happy to share. She’s five. I imagine she’ll outgrow that about the time she outgrows her princesses. It will certainly be sad

  2. shannon

    Everyone else might lynch me, but if you need to take a break from here…

    I’m sure the majority of us would wait around.

    And as for the typing by touch, I can, but only because my mother taught typing class and as a kid I’d play with her typing books, typing away…

  3. Cele

    When I first hit pre-menopausal (isn’t that a hoot? if pre-menopausal is before hitting menopause, then aren’t you always premenopausal until you aren’t?)

    I digress…

    When I hit pre-menopausal my NP told me try a glass of wine before bed. Well I rapidly found I could be an alcoholic and wide awake. So she said, try Tylenol PM®. Now I can say I will be happily addicted….and rested for the rest of my life.

    Problem: I’m on call 24 / 7.

  4. Melissa

    Oh god I’m am insomniac now, I don’t need more added to it.

    And your little girl is growing up. How cute. And sad. (My mom took me to the store to pick out my own uhmmm things, and that helped me thru it. If you think it will help her.)

  5. Mir

    Ummmm Melissa? Your mom took you to the store to pick out your own barf bags? ;)

  6. dad

    Ya mean you’re supposed to use your pinkies?

  7. Bob

    See, here I was thinking that maybe Chickadee had an an “involuntary immediate loose bowel movement” instead of ralphing on herself. I guess I didn’t understand how sensitive some kids are about that.

    And I also haven’t heard of using barf bags in place of “uhmmm things”. I guess if it is a heavy month…..

    live and learn.

  8. Cindy

    Poor Chickadee! She would just die if she knew what everyone was guessing! See what happens when you try to protect your privacy? What we imagine is much worse than reality! I hope she feels better soon and that you have a day of minimal…ummmm…clean up.

  9. Alexa

    I can not “type the way they teach you in school” either, because I suffer from a rare disorder called “laziness,” and I never learned how.
    Poor Chickadee. I threw up AT SCHOOL in kindergarten and was mortified. I hid in the coat room the next day until someone found me. I hope she is feeling better…

  10. ben

    *lynches shannon, but in a nice way*

    At our house it is known as intestinal fortitude compromise. Because that gives it enough syllables that the kids won’t repeat it to gramma, but everyone knows to stay clear of the poor victim.

    especially if it’s daddy. Whoa. Only one brave enough to follow him into the restroom is the dog, and common theory is that the dog is just too stupid to remember what it smelled like the LAST time.

    My pinkies go wandering, too, but only because I had a major crush on the girl who sat in front of me in typing class and never really paid attention to what we were doing.

  11. Gillian

    I want to come down on the side of peace. I don’t think there is a Mommy War, I don’t think there is a ‘war against Christmas’ or a ‘war against Christianity’ or even a ‘war against drugs’.

    There are two areas where this country is at war right now. War is not a comfortable nor a clear thing to consider. Still, we have an obligation to be aware of the real ‘wars’ that involve pain beyond measure for so many people.

    Whether you push your kid in a stroller or tote them around in a sling just doesn’t really make the world a better place.

    The rest of this stuff is childish gabble. Women are mothering their children in whatever way is available or doable for them. Whatever your choices, you can hold those children at the end of the day and not wonder if the next step they take is into death far beyond the reach of your arms to protect or comfort them.

    If people need to bicker, then bicker away. Let’s just not pretend that any of this stuff is worthy of the word ‘war’ when real war is what some people have to wake up to and go to sleep with.

  12. Latte Man

    When I learned to type it was on an old Royal MANUAL typewriter (that my mother STILL uses). I had problems adjusting to ‘normal’ keyboards that do not have height and space between rows of keys. I continued this way until I got carpal tunnel. Then I picked up a Micro$oft Ergononic Keyboard and haven’t looked back (although everyone else hates it because they can no longer use my keyboard due to the ‘split’)

  13. Brenda

    Poor Chickadee. Whatever it is, full sympathy is freely offered.

    BTW, I picked up a Spongebob Squarepants computer software game set at Costco. There was a program in it to teach children to touch type. My younger son loves it. My older son ignores it.

    There is/was a game called “Typer Shark” that used your typing skills to destroy attacking sharks and save the deep sea diver.

    I have very strong pinkies, mostly because I did a lot of horseback riding when young, and used double reins. Major pinkie workout. My pinky skills are awesome, but I have to look at the number row to type the numbers and symbols correctly.

  14. Brenda

    Sorry, I forgot to add:

    Mir, if you need a break, take it. You are now your own boss, you are a single parent with young children, and have a very busy life. You don’t owe us a daily blog entry.

    But *sniffle* I would miss your posts in the morning.

    And I only blog when I feel like it.

  15. Sarah

    I cheated in typing class in high school, so I type with about five of my fingers and occasionally my thumbs. I have to look at the keyboard about 85% of the time.

    People make fun of me when they see me type.

    That is what I get for cheating, I guess.

  16. Sarah

    I cheated in typing class in high school, so I type with about five of my fingers and occasionally my thumbs. I have to look at the keyboard about 85% of the time.

    People make fun of me when they see me type.

    That is what I get for cheating, I guess.

  17. Sarah

    Apparently cheating also makes you post commentas twice.

    Sorry, I suck.

  18. Amy-GO

    *Lynches Shannon and Brenda*

    Of course you should take a break when you need to. We’ll be here when you get back.

    You don’t need a really LOOOOONG break, though, right? Because I’d be really, really sad. ;)

  19. sumo

    So, who says you have to post daily? Nobody else does. We’ll wait, trust me.

    On pinky typing: the keyboard has assisted in this area tremendously compared the the old manual typewriters. Especially for the shift key! Hitting an occasional Z or P was not too big a deal, but getting the shift all the way down, gaah!

    OH, and I agree with Brenda. Typer Shark is awesome! Er, if you enjoy typing games. Which apparently I do. Sigh.

  20. Laura

    The only key I can hit with my pinky is . And that only with my right hand. If I try anything else my pinkies sieze up and cry “Abuse!” at the top of their non-existant lungs. So, yeah, I feel for you. If we can not only type, but do it quickly, who cares how we do it?

  21. Laura

    And apparently when you put something between the “greater than” and “less than” symbols, it disappears from your comment. I tried to say that I can only hit the SHIFT key with my pinky.

  22. Niihaus

    I must’ve been skipping school and trying to buy beer the day the typing class learned to blindly find the numbers on the keyboard. I always have to stop and find the numbers.

    As for the sleep, since I started Premarin I have the hardest time falling asleep but when I’m out, I’m out.

    Since Chickadee is sick are you going to let her watch cartoons all day and…maybe…water the plants? ;-)

  23. Shelley

    I don’t use my pinkies when I type either! And here I thought I was weird…glad to know I’m not alone.

  24. Kelly

    I was one of those ridiculous typing class overachievers, and became so obsessed with touch-typing that twenty years later, I still touch type conversations I’m having with people (live and in person, no less) on my thighs. I can also do it with my toes. In my shoes. With no accuracy whatsover, I’m sure, but I do it anyway.

    90 words a minute.

    How righteous, you’re writing for a living. So great!

  25. Melanie Lynne Hauser

    Honestly, I have no idea how – or why – you all blog in so many places! It’s all I can do to keep up with my own pathetic little corner of the world (not to mention, holding out time to write those brilliant (HAR!) novels). I get an eye twitch thinking about increasing the blogging load. So I don’t. (And I’m a killer typist, too – no uncoordinated pinkies here!)

  26. Debra

    My father could type almost 80 WPM using only 2 fingers on each hand. Me? I keyboard conventionally, quickly but not accurately.

    This post-menopausal woman has no problem going back to sleep when awakened. And luckily if I cannot sleep, I know that I will fall asleep at 4 am.

    Poor Chicadee… I don’t know her age, so I won’t guess her affliction. but hope she feels better soon.

  27. ozma

    Your post at blogher is kind of scary.

    I will be the cliqueless mom for sure .

    I keep thinking we will avoid rich suburban white people and thus avoid some of that. It is naive, I am sure but it seems to be more intense among upper middle class white people and even more intense among upper middle class white people from the suburbs.

    So it will either be (a) inner city school or (b) hippie alternative school.

    Yes, there will be friends and outcasts and so on but the insane status craziness will be muted in certain ways–judging from my own experience at (a) as a child and my husband’s and friends’ experience at (b) compared to my younger siblings experience when we moved on up like the Jefferson’s to the scary ‘good’ school where my siblings were relentlessly tortured for not having the right kind of clothes, etc.

  28. owlhaven

    I type– fast– with exactly two fingers on each hand. Except for the times, like now, that I type with a sleeping baby in arms, and use 3 fingers on one hand.

    Mary, mom to many

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