Life stories


(Dumping ancient drafts.)

想写这篇东西是在看完《八十年代访谈录》以后。我一直有些羡慕那一代人,当然不是为他们受的苦,而是上山下乡得到的人生经验。不过仔细想想,我其实是在给自己的平庸无为找借口。我实在是彻底对不起我成长的环境。我有极为难得的家庭条件,可以再方便不过地在父母指导下学习几乎所有文化艺术领域的知识,但我完全没有利用这个机会,现在追悔莫及。我妈做学问很刻苦,时不常有意无意地给我讲她看的哲学、历史、音乐、文化各方面的书籍,我听的时候倒也感兴趣,可是自己不去继续看和思考,除了人名以外什么都忘了。因为我从小在音乐学院长大,加上学钢琴到10岁,免不了有一些古典音乐的基础知识,但从来没有系统地学习过,居然要等到清华才上了几节和声课。我爸非常忙,从来没有主动教我有关电影的东西,但如果我去问他肯定会很乐于回答。现在想起来真是觉得荒谬:我从来没和我妈一起认真听过一首曲子,也从来没和我爸一起仔细看过一部影片,听他们讲解、讨论自然就更不用说了。倒是最近打电话有时听他们说说最近看过、听过的作品,可是没法和当面比。所以我至今也没有听全过9贝,没看过伯格曼;即使听了、看了,也是会毫无头绪。

Almost every piece from Stevey “unsigned long long” Yegge’s blog strikes me down further into the purgatory of hopeless never-going-to-make-it programmer.

But this almost saved my soul.

Later Coding Horror chimed the same bell. I got 91 wpm with 3 mistakes from the typing test site he mentioned, slightly faster than his 84.

Typing is one of the very few things I can actually say that I’m above average.

It could be in late primary school when I started to “learn” English with my parents following “Follow Me”, that I took up typing using an old barely functional typewriter. The mechanics part was probably much easier than the content, since 26 identical keys in 3 rows is a pretty far cry from 88 keys in a staggered row, and there’s no dynamics or pedals to meddle with. Typewriter keys do travel a longer distance than piano keys, and the old typewriter keys were very heavy, so I sometimes used typing as a less boring finger warm-up exercise.

In junior high we started to have computer class (on Apple IIe, topic for another blog piece), and one of the first softwares we used is typing instruction. Computer keyboard was so much softer and shallower compared to typewriter, thus much easier and faster to type.

Typing was instrumental, literally and figuratively, to two main themes of my mid teen: pop songs and “love” letters (yet another topic). I typed the lyrics of hundreds of songs first on paper, then on the home PC. It helped me to learn the songs and some of the cultural background, to learn idiomatic and poetical English, and to type faster, of course.

One funny day in senior high, I walked into a typing class more or less by accident. The teacher watched me type for a while and asked “are you sure you’re in the right class?” She pulled me into her office, measured my speed, and started me immediately on a crash course for typing competition, which traded my speed for accuracy.

To this date I thank that teacher, whose name I can’t remember. And my employers should, too.