Due in no small part to a subreddit I stumbled upon last month, I have found this month's obsession: mechanical keyboards.
A mechanical keyboard is one which uses old-fashioned metal switches and properly sprung keys with removable caps, rather than the rubber membranes used on the MacBook and other Apple keyboards. The switches themselves (the German Cherry MX being the brand of ubiquity) are available in a range of flavours, offering different sounds, resistance to pressure and tactile feedback.
They're revered in equal measure by PC gamers—on account of their more consistent and reliable operation—and writers who consider them the best tool for their craft. And they can be beautiful:
Being the sort of person who recognises that having the best tools will instantly transform one in a master of their craft, after some extensive research I placed my order—the Ducky One, 108 key, ISO layout and Cherry MX Brown switches:
I've been tapping away on it for a couple of weeks now. During this time my typing speed has dropped from 65 to 50 words per minute, I've started annoying those in neighbouring rooms with my incessant click-clacking and developed a deep ache in my forearms from angling my wrists up while reaching for its considerably more pronounced keys.
But I fully intend to persevere, not because I feel like an idiot for spending money on something which makes a job harder, but because I know it will help me become a better person. Like a high-performance car which demands more thought and discipline from its operator, but rewards with an infinitely greater driving experience. Or a wood-burning stove which, with all the stacking, chopping and carrying, is considerably more work than flicking on the central heating but delivers a warmth for which there is no scientific measure.