Left-handed typing is not fun when it's your right hand that’s dominant.
Recently, I’ve had to return to a method of writing I used years ago, when I developed tendinitis after exhaustively editing my first novel in the spring and summer of 2011. Be wary of the computer mouse, people. It's not your friend. ..
Learning how to write using only my voice was a new experience for me, but in truth it’s made me a better writer. Eventually, I grew irritated with the voice recognition software that was built into my computer, and opened the purse strings to purchase a voice recognition software more suited to my needs. It was still a bit clunky, and frustrating at times but it was better than what I had and gave me a chance to heal and grow strong again, while continuing to create.
Now, the Dr. is using words like carpal tunnel, tendinitis and repetitive strain injury … oh boy. Thank you pandemic …
But before you roll your eyes, and stop reading, this blog post is NOT about Covid-19. It’s actually about how I learned to listen in the right way.
You see, a funny thing happened when I broke down once again and purchased the latest version of my chosen voice to text software. By that time, my doctor was warning me this condition could persist for quite some time, and I needed to find different ways to use a computer so that I could continue my creative writing. The first step in learning to use this software was to become very aware of my environment, the way I say words, and how easy it is to mis-understand spoken word.
It was after I’d been using this software for couple of days, with flawless results, when something completely absurd began happening. My computer started typing on its own!
I had just set up a fresh new page and settled my headset in place, when a word popped up on the screen…
The breath I’d just taken, whooshed from my lungs in surprise as I stared at the computer, wondering how I could possibly have dictated this just by breathing. How sensitive was this microphone? My gaze automatically flicked to the top of the screen where the dictation toolbar rested.
The microphone icon was red. I hadn’t turned it on yet!
Pushing away from my desk, I picked up my phone instead.
Later that day, I tried again. This time, I got as far as the e-mail salutation, before something intervened.
“Hello there,” I dictated.
Somehow, this turned into who the hell are you?
Not to be thwarted, I tried again.
“Good morning,” I said, ensuring the microphone was properly positioned and I spoke as clearly as possible.
Here’s what I got in return:
Oaa oo ee aa ah uuo
Okay, now this was getting really frustrating. How was this even possible? Go ahead, try to replicate the experience. My husband did, and the machine understood him just fine. He did it again and again, as I watched in disbelief. So what was I doing wrong?
Those who know me well already know where this is going. Just another example of “life with V” and I’m sure I would have been really impressed, if I wasn’t still desperately trying to compose an important message.
Readjusting my microphone, I tried again:
“How are you this morning?” I said.
What I got back made me sit back and stare at the screen wordlessly.
The salutation I’d just dictated was completely missing, and in its place were the words: I don’t know.
I knew what I’d said, and yet there it was, plain as day. The answer to my question, perhaps? My curiosity piqued, I asked another question. Who am I speaking to?
Again, instead of typing out the phrase as I spoke it, a question mark appeared on the screen.
Confused, I sat back from the monitor and waited. The cursor just blinked in place, waiting for my next move.
I still needed to build this e-mail, and I now realized I would have to hunt and peck with my left hand to do it, but … could this be more than just another frustration added to my day? Could it be possible that I had accidentally discovered another way to communicate with spirit? Those odd translations looked a lot like the beginnings of a conversation.
Testing out this theory, I started again. Do you like talking this way? I still have to work, but if you let me send this message I’ll chat with you later, I promise.
The word work was the only word that appeared on the screen.
Then, as though I’d issued another command, the window I’d been working in closed abruptly, and my email program minimized.
“What’s going on?” I mumbled, forgetting my computer’s microphone was still on.
But instead of displaying an error message or trying to understand the words I’d mumbled, the word work appeared again.
Okay, I’m not an idiot so I realized what was happening, but I am truly stubborn, and despite my injury I still had to communicate with my team, so I clicked back into my email program and repeated the process another four times, with similar results before finally getting the hint.
Deciding to close my e-mail program, I reached for the mouse, but before my hand made contact, Gmail closed itself and logged me out!
Wow, spirit. Point taken, I guess.
Frowning at the screen, I picked up my phone to relay my message that way instead, wondering what else could possibly go wrong.
As it turns out, that’s not a good thing to wonder, but I’ll save that for another blog post…