I’m considered a slow typer. I can manage around 40 words per minute. If a novel measures around 50 thousand words, then in theory my typing aptitude should allow me to create a book in a little over 1200 minutes. 20 hours. Divide that into five four-hour sprints done daily and I could finish by Friday if I started on Monday. In theory.
However, in practice, most of the time spent on writing is not spent literally writing or typing, but thinking of what to write, undoing what has been written, and trying to redo previous attempts. This composition strikingly resembles life. If you were to add up the absolute amount of time one would consider breathless moments, those that which make someone’s life a life, it wouldn’t be a long duration. It would be a tiny fraction relative to the average life expectancy of around 80 years. Not much time is needed for a life to feel meaningful, and yet, that huge mass of superficial time is needed to generate those meaningful moments.
I walk past two girls who are shivering outside the cafe with their cigarettes, while thinking this. 40 words per minute. How long would it take to write the note that I’ve been willing to write Moriah? If only I wasn’t full of bullshit. If I wasn’t a fraud. If I knew exactly what I wanted to tell her, then I could simply open up my laptop and start writing it, forty words a minute.
My belly asks for something other than coffee, but don’t feel like crossing Baker Boulevard and re-entering campus. I feel compelled to stay on this side of town for some reason. I haven’t finished my history computing paper yet, but I’ll still have plenty of time tomorrow to finish before the 3 PM deadline. That paper doesn’t bother me. Not as much as the simple 100 word email I need to write Moriah ASAP.
The lights are bright and the music loud. After walking aimlessly, yet persistently west on Baker, I end up at a bar that has a marquee out front. It grabs my attention as no other places had an old fashioned marquee such as this. It reminds me of a time past, an era I wasn’t around for. Yet I’ve experienced it, but only by recreating it based on other people’s nostalgia. It’s the days of large, steel convertibles and Coca-cola in the summer. The marquee is advertising an open-mic night for stand up comedy. No cover charge, and you only need to be 18 or older to get in.