This seems about right as a midlife signpost. By this point you’ve set up some pretty elaborate systems to sustain your job or family, or whatever your thing is, and there’s no pulling off to the shoulder for a smoke, or suddenly deciding to drive the opposite way. You’d better put the petal to the floor and keep on going if you care about the general safety of others on the road.
And so Eugene the typopigeon arrived at Facebook HQ after a mysterious delay in the mailroom. I knew he landed before I saw him, as a colleague stopped me in the hall to inquire: “WHAT is EUGENE?!”
My post about him generated 71 likes and 18 comments. Not bad, typopigeon. I think my own anniversary did not fare nearly as well.
Having just arrived in millennial country, he reflexively took a selfie with my phone.
“Take me to your leader,” said Eugene. “I have some feedback for Zuckerberg about the Messenger app.”
“There’s not time for that,” I explained. “We have to see the Analog Lab.” And so I made haste across the campus with pigeon in hand, shrugging of the doubletakes of passersby who wondered how I coaxed a live pigeon to sit calmly in my hand, wearing a tiny knitted scarf.
Inside the lab, a screen-print was in progress.
Eugene paused to peck out a letter to his mom.
Outside again, Eugene alighted upon a table outside The Sweet Stop while I went in to get him some soy bread crumb froyo and a side of flax.
Next stop: arcade. The pinball machines were no match for Eugene, but this game was a different story.
Afterwards we checked out Instagram’s offices within Facebook. “I’d really like to be a fly on the wall over there,” he told me.
Facebook’s campus has many art exhibits, but Eugene felt most at home with this one, featuring the eggs of various bird species.
As Eugene’s tour came to a close, he insisted on posing by the following wall-high slogan, which he felt was a great mantra for writers, if a possibly problematic frame of mind for software design. I just shrugged. You don’t argue with pigeons, as everyone knows.
Next week, Eugene takes wing to his next destination via USPS, wrapped in god knows what. He wanted me to let you know that he can’t wait to see you.
I suspected staples had a dark side when I found two of them in a restaurant taco in 1991. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized librarians and zine archivists reflexively remove these and other rusting metal fasteners from documents, as this fascinating article from the US Govt National Archives explains. As a (lapsed) zinester, I used staples in both of my typewriter zines Silent Type I and Silent Type 2, but am currently looking into other methods for my odd habit of making pocket notebooks out of random paper dregs (see photo).
Pamphlet stitching, it would appear, is the archivist-approved way to bind a document, and so I’ll be dragging out my forgotten paper sewing skills for the next round of notebooks– somehow, like Origami and knitting, this seems to be a skill that has no cognitive sticking power, like knitting and origami, and although I understood it well enough to write a tutorial on it years ago, I’ve completely forgotten how to do it once again.
When I lived in Washington I’d drive my 2 year old to a day care four towns away in the morning. There was a freeway but usually I took the back roads through semi-rural properties in suburban Douglas Fir greenbelts and being Washington, usually it was wet and gray.
Sometimes I’d stop at Starbucks and get coffee and oatmeal, and give the raisins to my daughter, reaching back while driving to place them in her outstretched hand. On certain days I stopped the forward motion of our routine for no reason and pulled into the roundabout parking lot of a nearby cemetery.
From the road you’d see a few well-placed graves continually refreshed with seasonal mementos, pinwheels, flowers, balloons. The grave closest to the corner was white stone with a handprint and for maybe a year or more I thought it was the grave of a child, until once I went for a walk there and read it up close: Jill Evans, Beloved Mother, Daughter, Wife. In her living years perhaps she did daily laps like mine, transporting children to their social stations, each member of the family going to their separate classroom or workplace by the appointed hours. Each morning my intuition tries to get a word in about this routine, but it’s a tide, and I’m swept in it.
My daughter eats her raisins without comment and looks serenely out the windows as I start the car again, she takes in the graves and the douglas firs matter of factly, her round face is crushing to my heart as I catch sight of it in the mirror while turning onto the road. Today she’ll sing songs and turn pages of some beat-up board books, and walk outside in the play yard wood chips in the misty rain with her fleece sweatshirt while I walk hurriedly from meeting room to meeting room.
So I’ve up and moved to California and decided that a visit to California Typewriter is in my near future. Have you been? See the thing is, all my typewriters are in storage, along with everything I own except two shirts and a pen. Must rectify this.
Unrelatedly, I’ve taken up a new hobby of making notebooks, most recently constructed entirely of paper grocery bags, Scotch tape, and cardboard packaging, owing to my lack of personal effects. Behold, a gallery.
So, a new colleague of mine (correction, I am the new one) brought two pristine Olympia typewriters to the office the other day, a Craigslist find, along with a box of accessories I’ve only read about, typewriter oil and ribbon tins, this sort of thing. I was working at my desk and heard typing, this is how I found out about it. Trying to talk her into starting a typewriter club at [my latest tech employer about which You Probably Have a Strong Opinion]. Which has, unexpectedly, an Analog Research Lab full o screenprinting equipment.
That is all.