Space to reflect

11/11/21 17:29

I’m already back in Bella’s with a latte and a victoria sponge being prepared.  There’s a parking attendant sat at the table behind my left shoulder and on my right, I’m unsure if he’s management or a very regular regular.  He’s just been joined by someone that came out from the back.  The table directly in front of me has been greeted by a barista on her break.  The chap that served me has demanded that I enjoy both my food and my drink as he peers down at my orange inked page.

With under four weeks to go until I reach Paris again, I have sixteen entries to whack up on the blog and post onto Instagram.  That’s quite a lot.  Too many for my liking.  I’m occasionally posting fairly random photos to keep interest going for both my followers and myself.  Incidentally, I don’t mean both of my followers; I have 132 followers at the minute.  That said, I’m having an average of ten likes per post and not all of those are from followers.  I’m still not in it for the numbers, but it’s interesting to watch.

This trip in December will be the first for me whereby I’m (hopefully) a fully qualified postgraduate, having a bachelor’s and a master’s covering Creative Writing.  For a guy that is neither academic nor ambitious, I’m actually rather proud of that fact.  Yes, it’s been hard work as well as time-consuming, but, it’s not really been worth it at all.  Except for it having provided me with the motivation to write this blog, the aim for my starting of the book and given me the chance to finally close the door to the aspiration that it really wasn’t too late to get letters after my name.  I’ve actually gone further than I’d imagined I ever would have, over twenty-five years ago.

I popped to a spectacle glazer during my lunch hour.  I’m getting an old pair of glasses re-lensed with a fixed blue tint like I used to have them.  I’m also getting my new Fossil frames fitted with a brown reaction.  However, upon my return, for some reason, I started to think about my blog entries.  I had a quick look over them at and my mind gave me a prod.  It felt like a huge shove in the chest of realisation.  I have been using double spaces after a full stop.  That’s a practice formed from my school days.  I checked a handful of websites and apparently, it’s all changed.  I don’t really know when and the explanations offered all seem to do with technological advances in typesetting and fonts.  Proportion and Monospace.  I must confess, I’m not happy about this.

When I was learning to write, I was taught about finger spaces.  One finger between words, two between sentences.  This connected with grammatical differences whilst reading.  One beat for a comma, two for a full stop.  When we progressed to secondary school and used typewriters, nothing had changed.  It was also one space between words, two at the end of a sentence.  And then identical rules for word processors.  This continued to computers.  Nothing wrong with a little white space for a pausingly breathful rest.  Or so it seemed.  With the introduction of mobile phones came the advent of text messages.  160 characters.  That’s all we were allowed in the beginning.  For us that like using punctuation and proper spelling, it became imperative that we maximised the digit real-estate and gave all we could.  This is where the one space after a full stop really began to take effect.  And from here, the “text talk” language began to gain yardage.

Twitter really put the nail in the coffin with the 140-character allowance.  It simply wasn’t possible to keep regular words looking regular.  As phone screens became smaller and T9 input became the norm, it looked like we were going to lose a lot of basic skills.  And yes, despite all the algorithmic pitfalls of Facebook (the VHS to MySpace’s Betamax) and Instagram they somehow turned “CYA L8R M8” back into “see you later, mate”.  However, the single spacing remained.  And it was maintained through emails.  I don’t recall a time when I ever used two spaces in emails.  Or even the good old MSN chat.  As phone sizes increased, text plans followed suit until now, when the majority are unlimited.  But MSN chat turned into Messenger and Whatsapp and then data increased to allow for more communications; home Wi-Fi became unlimited and offices allowed workers to latch on to theirs.   

So, at the risk of being old-fashioned and letting people know I’m over forty, I’m going to continue with my two-finger space in my handwriting and double space-bar on the laptop.  Yes, it takes up more screen real-estate and uses more pages in a book, but if it makes my words easier to read, then so be it.  With only ten pages left of this notebook, I’ll be using my ready-ordered, retractable nibbed fountain pen in hopefully my new Santa-provided notebook come the new year.

Unless I manage to grab one from a marché de Noël, first.

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