Friday, November 10, 2017

The Coffeeshop Response

A good ending to a fairly non-dramatic but excellent blog-content event.  There is still yet another piece of this saga remaining to be posted soon! 

This looked good on my ipod, it was not until I sent the letter that I put it on the computer and saw that it was a little blurry.  Sorry!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What To Do If You and Your Typewriter Are Asked to Leave a Business

These are my thoughts after having experienced this.  I think it should be required reading for anyone who wants to bring a typewriter to use in a public place.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem: To Type or Not To Type?

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea.  17 E Main Street / Salem, VA 24153
Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem Virginia (make sure you see follow up posts, the following is from the day of):
Today was the first day, in seven years or so working at coffeeshops or bars, recently 3-5 times a week, that I have ever been told "nope!"
I had brought a typewriter to this same venue about a week prior, the same typewriter in fact, on October 28 and had no issues.  I went in today and was told by an employee I was bothering people and needed to put my typewriter away.  I finished a short paragraph, chugged my remaining coffee, and left, wishing I waited until I was leaving to put money in the tip jar... that dollar is long gone.
I felt a deep sense of shame when I was told to pack up... they didn't kick me out -but they may as well have because the reason I went there was to work on some letters and poetry.  The shame was irrational because this coffeeshop is a noisy place, with an espresso machine and their own grinders and even music, as well as plenty of people talking.  I was told the people who complained were studying -there was a library right across the street though and I don't think there is an expectation of quietness in a coffeeshop, not generally.
On the flipside, it would have been quite rude of me to go in and start playing a trombone -just because this place is "public" and I could.  But I think a typewriter is grey area.  And they are far less noisy.
The restaurant has a right to decide how they want to treat customers and who they want to grant preference to.  They were in a sticky situation, and what they did was not unfair, even if it was upsetting to me.  They have every right to have acted exactly like they did, and they were professional about it.  Just as I have every right not to return there, and to tell my friends there might be better places to buy a cup of coffee.  And to blog about it.
After the employee had confronted me a customer immediately jumped up from a few tables away and told me he loved the sound, and his wife and him were just talking about it, and he was deeply sorry what had happened.  This is the usual reaction I get if I get any in the places I usually work.  Some delis and coffeeshops even welcome me in with excitement, "It's the typewriter guy!" and with big smiles.  I generally prefer to be ignored, but positive attention is much better than negative attention.  I was thankful someone had come over to say something kind, it alleviated some of the embarrassment and shame I was feeling.  I think I blushed while being scolded.  I thought I knew Salem, and I thought it was a safe place for me to be myself and to work.  It was shocking and unsettling, Salem is close enough to home to be home.
Look for two blog posts coming soon, "What to do if asked to leave while typing publicly" and "What to do if someone begins typing in your coffeeshop or bar".


ADDENDUM:
There is a part two to this story, posted very soon, about follow up from management in response to a letter I sent.  It turns out the actions of the employee were against company policy and I did receive an apology.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Another Absurd Public Typing Choice

I tried it again during dinner, writing a second letter to a second friend, and actually met some really cool people including one who has about 10 typewriters himself and is a bit of a collector.  It's nice not to be interrupted so much, but with this machine I felt like I was totally asking for it!!!

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Poem and a Robust

I suppose it's somewhat political, but it's what I believe and it is part of my justification for why I love owning this machine.  Those of you who have been following my blog surely know how long I have wanted a machine that could type the title of that poem! And yes, I am aware now that there are some misspellings.  
The best thing about having one of these at a Starbucks might be laughing to yourself when people walk by and say their grandmother had one just like it!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

East Kentucky Trip

I know it has little to do with typewriters, but it has everything to do with my poetry collection I am working on.  I lived in Lynch in Harlan County, Kentucky for a summer and it was life changing.  I worked underground coal. These are the signs welcoming you into Kentucky as you cross the state line from Virginia, right over the highest point in Kentucky.  Check out the large caliber bullet holes. 
The mountains out there are large, close together, and gorgeous.  I took this photo of Cumberland from Kingdom Come State Park. You can see smoke, a few buildings in Cumberland were on fire.  The large clear spot in the back between the hills is a giant slag heap near the coal cleaning plant I worked briefly in.


This is just on the Virginia side of Black Mountain, and is what a coal seam looks like.  When you go further into a mine how deep you are has less to do with how much up or down you are going than it does how much taller the mountain above you gets. 
At one time the largest coal tipple in the country, this is typical of the fascinating ruins in Lynch and Benham.


Speaking of ruins, this old school was the company offices when I worked in the mines.  That was in 2009, and it was still being used when I visited in 2011.  It looks pretty rough for just 6 years of vacancy! 
The mountains are so tall each morning the fog just hangs in them.  This is a mine I worked at, filled in and grown over, all the buildings broken down and removed.  You can see a very obvious contour in the land though. Some other mines I worked in are still active.


An old continuous miner, something rarely seen above ground, and not so different than the ones we used.  The drum with the teeth on it rotates, scraping the coal which is scooped up that ramp in the front and fed out a conveyor on the back into shuttle cars which transport it to the conveyor belt which brings the coal out of the mine. 
Old strip mine maybe, or logging, or both.  Not as ugly as it can be sometimes.


Corn nuggets are harder to find back home than in East Kentucky.  These are the far superior cousin of the hush puppy!