Thursday, January 31, 2008

This is Me, Testing a Blue Pen

First, before I explain this other thing that you should know about me, you should know this about me: I love pens. LOVE them. When I’m stressed out at work and need a little pick-me-up I don’t ask for chocolates or flowers. I want a wee trip down to the local stationer to peruse the aisles and aisles of fabulous ink-squirting utensils. One of the things that I take with me to work every day, and bring home every night for fear that if left behind someone will ROON it, is this set of 10 pens. I love that they open up as a stand (an award-winning stand!) and come in such colors, including yellow, which is completely absurd as a pen color but which I love anyway, and I impress everyone at work when I arrive to a meeting with my super-cool pen set. (and by “impress” I mean “they look at me and understand the smallness of my life. And they feel sad.”) Yep, I love pens. LOVE them.

Now, when you go to find new and glorious pens you must first, of course, try them out. You can’t bring home just any pen. It’s got to have good flow, and just the right amount of ink on the line. You need to be able to write smoothly and fluidly, and it has to be able to write both cursive and print. Both! Except nothing less! Fortunately the purveyors of fine pens understand this, and they normally have little pads just for to be trying out your pen choices.

But then you have to decide what to write. What, of all the writable things, will you write with this, your one chance to test a pen before you fill out the papers to take it home!

If ever you’re in the pen department at your local pen emporium (or Penporium) and you find tester pads that say “testing a blue pen” and “checking out a pen of red” know that it was me. I write “this is me, trying out a blue pen.” Or “this is the black pen I’m trying out.” “Hey, look at how this red pen writes.” “this is how this green pen looks when I write with it. Like I am now.”

Today a fellow administrative monkey (we’ll call her Jeans Girl) offered me up a pen from the box of new pens she’d ordered, and so I had to try it out. After I wrote “this blue pen writes like this.” she asked me why I would write that, of all the things to write. I explained to her that otherwise I get completely stuck by the multitude of options!

Otherwise you’ll see me in the pen aisles, stymied! Staring at the blank tester pad with no direction! Should I write my name? Someone else’s name? A famous name! What about a quote, like Shakespeare or Noel Coward. Should I write “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” so I can see how the pen writes all the letters? What about numbers? What if I get this home and find out it just SUCKS at the number 4 and question marks? I could try to draw something, but I suck at drawing, and then I have to decide if the sucky drawing is because of a sucky pen or just me sucking at drawing. Don’t get me wrong, because I love pen shopping, but the choosing of a quality pen should not take several hours.

Now I have a simple system that takes my far too active imagination out of the equation. I should probably come up with systems that do that for the rest of my life too. You SO don’t want to see me picking out underwear.

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