A little old man was just here at work to do general maintenance on our typewriters. "Typewriters?", you ask. Yes! We still have typewriters.
Never one to pass up the opportunity to talk to strangers (my mother would be so proud!), I asked the burning question, "Do other companies still actually USE typewriters?"
"Why yes", he says in his english accent, "this is what keeps me busy all day every day."
"Really?!" I exclaim, "and I thought we were the only ones living in the dark ages."
He chuckles, "Oh don't say that. That means I'm old!"
He IS quite old. I think he must be past the age of normal retirement, 65. Maybe he just looks older. I peruse and decide that he must be a smoker, yellow teeth, faint scent of tobacco mixed with typewriter grease. The lines of his face run deep, especially around his eyes and mouth with many other wrinkles all over the rest of his face. Only smokers and sun-worshippers have wrinkles like that.
I noticed when he walked in that he has a limp, appears that he may have broken a hip at some point. He is hunched over with a bit of a hump on his back, perhaps from years of leaning over and fixing those typewriters. I decide that he would have been fairly tall and lean in his youth. The years have been unkind to his bones. His hands are stained and his fingers crooked.
"You know they did a special on TV about me once and they called me a DINOSAUR!"
I respond with laughter, "Well at least I didn't call you a dinosaur!"
The last of a dying breed, I guess. I didn't realize that someone would actually do a television special focusing on typewriters repairmen. It's probably something I would watch.
We then broke into a conversation about my grandmothers old typewriter - it was green and so heavy I could barely lift it. Mr. Repairman said that it must be an Olympian or some brand name that I would not recognize. His oldest typewriter, he said, was made in the late 1800's. He tells me that people still actually buy those big old clunky manual typewriters from their shop. They run about $380.00!
I turn my back and notice the tea and toast on my desk that I had gotten earlier.
"Would you like water or tea or coffee?", I ask.
His eyes light up (he has kind eyes) like a child who has just gotten a new toy, "Oh I would love a tea! with lots of sugar and just a bit of milk."
"I put 3 sugars in mine," I say.
"Is it the little packets?", he grins, "cause I need about 6 of those!" I agree completely and tell him it's the regular sugar scooped out with a teaspoon.
"3 would be great then."
I return with this tea and he says, "well everything stops now." He takes a big slurp and sighs, "Oh that's awesome" I smile at the fact that he said the word "awesome".
We just sit for a moment each of us sipping our tea and making small talk. It's nice. Tea shared is better than tea alone, even if it is with the complete stranger sitting across from me in my cubicle.
When he leaves he thanks me again for the "awesome" tea. He tells me that he will be back on Tuesday for "another....tea, that is", and he laughs. He really has to come back to fix the remaining typewriters because he ran out of oil.
I tell him that I would more than happy to join him for another tea. I hope he realizes that I am serious.