About a month ago, I got a new mouse at work. It has four buttons and a scrolling button. It totally screwed me up. I’ve talked before about tactile learning, and this is another example of that. All of a sudden, I had a different mouse at work than I had at home and I couldn’t use my mouse at home.
It’s such a strange feeling to reach for something that you intellectually know is not there. When I used my mouse at home, my thumb would reach for the “back” button on my mouse, but it wasn’t there. No, damn it, that was my mouse at work. “I need a five button mouse at home!”
So I got one. Mike, the ever-vigilant husband that he is, bought me a five button mouse for Christmas. It’s a Logitech and my, it’s spiffy. It actually has a sixth button right on the top under the scrolling button. I have no idea what it does, but it has a little folder on it. Maybe it organizes my folders for me. Nah, only secretaries do that. I just tried it and all it does is switch between programs. I can do that with Alt+Tab anytime I want to.
Unfortunately, the problem is not solved. In fact, it’s even worse now. Now, I know that my mouse at home has a back button. My thumb instinctively reaches for it in the same place as my mouse from work and it misses every time. This mouse’s back button is in a different spot than the one from work. My poor thumb is as confused as ever.
It’s like when I suddenly find myself on one of those ergonomic split keyboard. They are totally out of fashion now, but Mike still uses one. It’s one of the reasons that I shun his totally cool computer in favor of my own. When my fingers are on the keys of his split keyboard, they are suddenly lost. They are at a different angle and the keys are ever so slightly off-kilter. Typing is impossible for me and my speed goes from 65 wpm down to about 20 wpm. Typing isn’t an intellectual activity: it’s a tactile one.
What will happen? Will I get to the point that my little thumb will learn where the back button is on both mice? Will I learn both of them and switch without even noticing or will my thumb forever revert to the buttons for the work mouse because I use that one for eight hours a day? Maybe I should just buy myself a Logitech mouse for work. Then I could have the magical folder button at work and at home. Then I wouldn’t have to Alt+Tab to switch between programs anymore.