You know that party trick where someone asks you to cross your index and ring fingers, close your eyes… and then strokes your fingers with two of their own? Yes, I know this sounds a little kinky but believe me it isn’t, it’s just plain weird. In case you’ve never encountered this particular peculiar demonstration of how easily the mind can be fooled, I’ll say no more so as not to spoil the surprise when it happens to you.
Something similar happened while I was doing Lesson 28: "Introducing X and B: Index fingers stretching down". The same thing happened on Lesson 18 ("Introducing Y and F: Index fingers stretching up") – only that time, I soon forgot about it. The fact that the same effect reappeared ten lessons later made me stop and think how weird and wonderful reality is (always assuming it exists at all, of course); how incredible it is that our brains can give us a glimpse of this reality thingy; how astonishing that I am able to think about it – and how fascinating that there are others ‘out there’ that I can waffle at about it (hopefully making some kind of sense while doing so, although that’s moot).
Damn these long, rambling sentences: where was I? Oh, yes: "repetition". This thing happened twice (lessons 18 and 28); and because it happened more than once, the impact was that much more than a simple "hey, that’s a bit odd" in passing.
Now I’ve given you this whole massive build-up thing, the thing itself may seem rather tame. All I can say about that is that some things can’t be easily described, they’re best experienced; and doing them more than once can often be a benefit. (Yeah, baby, yeah )
I guess that means it might be a good idea to go back and start all over again at Lesson 1. That’s probably not a bad idea: although I’m still stumbling a little, I can now rabbit on at something approaching my QWERTY speed. I remember that this is exactly what happened all those years ago when I first learned to type: having acquired a basic level of proficiency with the tool, I dashed off and starting hitting more interesting things with it, and gave up on the girlie touch-typing training. I’ve been a "hunt&pecker" for years (I’m doing it now on the Dvorak)… it might be worthwhile to stay the course for a bit. After all, why settle for a 2CV when with a little more effort you can trade it in for a Ferrari?
Alec at DVZine.org pointed me to Juerd Waalboer’s Dvorak touch-typing tutor. I’ve tried it once; it’s great, I think that’s where I should go for more training.
What? You’re still here? Ah, you want to know what this ‘thing’ is that I’ve been whittering on about? OK, but I warn you, it sounds tame until you feel it for yourself…
The important thing to remember here is that this only happens if you type without looking at the keys at all. Almost every key seems to be in the ‘right’ place: where my finger finds it is precisely where I visualise it to be. The exceptions are the combinations ‘yf’ and ‘bx’ (or ‘fy’ and ‘xb’: same difference). When (touch-)typing those combinations the first few times, it felt as though my index fingers were crossing over each other. Spooky. Clearly, my fingers weren’t crossing – ‘y’ & ‘f’, ‘x’ & ‘b’ are adjacent on the Dvorak layout. But for a short while there (I’m beginning to get used to them now, and the odd feeling is fading), it felt like they were laid out ‘fy’ and ‘bx’ instead of the other way around.
I did warn you it was tame. It’s nowhere near as impressive an illusion as the having-your-fingers-rubbed thing.
Hey! What are you looking at me like that for? The only difference between you and me is that I accept my weirdness
… fy fy fy fy bx bx bx bx yf yf yf yf xb xb xb xb…