I am hard on things. I am clumsy. I expect things to last much longer than they are really designed to. I know this. Alia likes to remind me of this. And yet —

In a perfect world, nothing of my personal anything would ever be done or appear — however momentarily, however hidden inside a folder I know that the company does not automatically back up — on my work computer. Beyond that, there are non-zero times when I am out and about and would like to scribble a little.[1] And because the "phone" in my pocket has a much better processor than my first n computers, it has a git client, however rudimentary, it has a shell, also rudimentary, that runs vim with enough of plugins and things, it makes sense that I’d want a small keyboard that could travel with me, so I am not mistyping constantly on my phone.[2]

But I have been through three in the last year and a half or so, three different models, and they’re all just fucking shit, e-waste, and I am sad and mad about it.

First it was the hinges. Then it was a pinched wire inside of those hinges. Then a battery inexplicitly died, or — perhaps — the hinges failed again, but in a different way, as this last keyboard was of an entirely different design. And sure, my backpack is not necessarily a friendly place for things with fragile hinges and wires: I ride a bike in Boston, I over pack, the fuck do you expect? But at least some pretense of durability, you would think —

And I had been happy enough with them, each of them. Sure, I had to remap the Caps Lock key to Control every time. Sure, some of them didn’t have an Esc key (requisite for "basic" vim use) and I had to get used to Ctrl-[ instead (which is arguably as ergonomic, anyway). Sure, my phone screen is very small and not the best for scanning and editing large chunks of text, but writing forward? But wide enough, in landscape mode, to accommodate 80 characters at a reasonable font size? I had made it work, and work well, I think.

But then all the keyboards broke. And now I’m reduced to typing with my thumbs again, to using iA Writer again,[3] to lugging around a laptop if I actually want to get any writing done while out in the world.

And yes, these are first world problems, of course they are. And yes, I’m sure that somewhere there is a better option. But I’ve been burned three times, three fairly different models, and so I’m loathe, really, to try again. I don’t like consuming things. I want to buy only things that last.

But as my Zaydie said often, "It is what it is," and I am at least blessed with opposable thumbs.

1. Metaphorically speaking, of course — I would link to my thoughts "Against Handwriting First Drafts" but I haven’t written that essay yet.
2. For: whoever designed the dictionaries that the iPhone uses to predict what letters might come next (and thereby make those letter targets invisibly larger so you can actually hit them with a thumb) did not have me and my idiosyncratic syntax in mind.
3. Which is a great piece of software, don’t get me wrong: I’m just addicted to (n)vim and fancy cursor motions now.