On my way to a spontaneous camping trip last weekend we stopped for dinner at the unfortunate Whataburger. Normally I don’t object too much to Whataburger because it’s the only fast food chain I know of that serves burgers of sustenance and normal size. They are not the paper-thin grease napkins that are served at McDonald’s or Burger King. But no matter how I mask it, it’s still pretty disgusting, and that night my burger was indeed a paper-thin grease napkin. As we sat in the plastic booths, sipping on high fructose corn syrup, and letting the grease in the air saturate our clothes, I heard these curious sounds coming from the corner: “Click-click-click-clack-ding! Click-click-click-clack-ding!”
There was an unaccompanied man attentively hunched over a circa 1973, typewriter, diligently punching away at the hard, polished keys. I assumed that the only people still using typewriters were those of defiance or irony: hipsters. I knew this man was not a hipster, evident by his lack of
ugly ironic apparel, Warby Parker eye-wear, and the very fact that he was using a greasy Whataburger as his quiet cafe-esque writing corner. The orange grease soaked wrappers from his dinner were scattered around the table, and he slurped on his soda in-between lines. I smiled at his ‘pencil’ of choice and location of inspiration, and quietly admired his commitment to write.
Maybe he was there doing research for a novel and felt that he could better describe the ambiance of a fast-food joint that was really just a cover business of an underground drug operation? Or maybe a greasy Whataburger is the location where the two young lovers meet in his epic romance novel? Or perhaps it is where the hero of his latest superhero saga, rises from the fries and degradation to become the savior of the city?
Or maybe he just enjoys writing so much that he doesn’t care where he is. He doesn’t need the aromas of freshly ground coffee beans and steamed milk wafting through the air to inspire his senses. He doesn’t need to be surrounded by trendy dressed people to affirm him that he is cool and belongs in this crowd of creativity and suffering artists. He doesn’t need a fancy new computer with internet access. He writes wherever, whenever. I can’t always say the same of myself. Blogging is different, but sitting down to write something that is more daunting and scares me, often gets pushed back to when I’ll have enough time to place myself in that quintessential nook, where everything just falls into place.
So cheers to you, Whataburger typewriter man, and your commitment to your passion!