Friday, August 03, 2007

Pen Snob

a Westminster Teal by Conway Stewart. One of only 100 made in the model of the original pen.

OK, and I don't really want an answer to this question, but what does it say about me that I have a "loaner" pen? I realized this the other day when one of my students asked to borrow a pen. I brought out my cheap Japanese pencil case (which I NEED -- it keeps the pens from stabbing holes in my pricey, posey, Timbuktu I'm-a-biker bag so just shut the heck up), dug through the pens in there, and was genuinely relieved to discover that I had a loaner.

The loaner, just like at the auto shop, is the crappy one. It's your basic narrow-barrelled ballpoint snoozer pen. It has no character, no vibrancy, it's just a pen, and I likely stole it from some place dull like a bank or one of my many schools. It may write perfectly well for years and years, or it may inexplicably stop writing in the middle of the next sentence. "Inexplicably" because you can't see the ink cartridge inside it, and you can't exchange it for another. It is, above all else, disposable.

The other pens in my case are these: a fabulous ultra-fine-tip marker bought at a Japanese store in Alderwood Mall. (My Japanese students always have the best pens.) I have a disposable fountain pen which I use only sparingly because of its transient nature. I have a mechanical pencil that uses the finest lead. You know the kind -- you look at it too hard and the lead snaps and puts out the eye of a boy across the room. These are not loaners, so don't even ask.

OK, even I acknowledge that my attachment to my writing instruments borders on the obsessive, but let me ask you this: what do you have that you won't loan out? Bloggers, let me hear it. Commentors, you too.

Incidentally, my loaner pen, the one I handed over to the kid in my class on Monday, never came back. Today's Friday. Having a spare loaner means I don't have to hunt the kid down and snap pencil lead in his eye.


NuclearToast said...

Pens? People still use those? Huh.

Ok, making a blog entry about loaning stuff.

Raggedy Angst said...

I didn't even mention the pens that aren't in the case, the ones that don't travel beyond the far ends of my desk at home! Oh, and that blog made me so nervous that I reloaded my pencil case with a new loaner. Phew.

bladio said...

I won't loan out books that are signed by the author. I also won't borrow them from someone because I would feel so terrible if something happened to it. I'm even scared to read Pete's signed Don DeLillo book in the house! Because you never know!

That's all I can think of right now.

DK said...

I don't let people borrow my red stapler.

Tony Easton said...

I will not loan out books by my favorite authors, as I've lost a rare copy of Boy Wonder by James Robert Baker doing this. I will not loan out DVD boxed sets of my favorite television shows, so don't ask to borrow all four season of The O.C. (as i had to re-purchase the 2nd season that someone never returned)...I also won't loan out my underwear...