Friday, March 23, 2012

Leaky Pens

Last week, I spent an hour looking for my favorite pens online, Itoya's Paperskater.  I also found a bunch of refills.  Here's what happened - I was writing on my merry way with my old favorite pen, the Jimnie, when I walked into this great art supply store, Pygmalion's Art Supplies, in Bloomington, Indiana.  I like this place for a lot of reasons, not the least of which that their cat crawled into my backpack there one day and looked up at me adoringly.  Okay, they have great art stuff, nice people, and have been there since I was in high school.  They're just off Kirkwood, where the hippies hung out and gave me peace signs and flowers back when I was a kid in the sixties.  I liked the hippies, though my parents were dubious.  I like it at Pygmalion's because it's usually an escape from stress.  I took my nephew there, not the one who hung up on me, but the other one, and now he's hooked too. 

So that was where I found a new favorite pen.  There wasn't any of the scratching on the paper that happens with some pens, or the soft drag of a cheap ballpoint that happens with others.  For a while, I was visiting Pygmalion's often, when my grandma was sick.  I remember one night, I had gotten there just a bit too late and they were already closed.  A flock of crows stood in a row along the top of the building across the street, as if standing guard.  They were also sitting in a small tree, probably a dogwood, looking like large black leaves fluttering but without a breeze.  I was so creeped out that night.  I know I was influenced by the fact that my grandma was in a great deal of pain, that I hadn't fought harder to assure her some ease, that I really didn't have any control to be able to allow her that relief though I loved her dearly.  Those were dark days for me, yet, going to Pygmalion's helped.  The next day, I went back and bought myself a couple of nice notebooks and a handful of the Itoya pens, more than I really needed. 

I've lost or loaned those pens by now and need more.  I called Pygmalion's and they don't carry the same type of pen any more.  To find a new favorite, I need to feel it in my hand, to write with it.  In the meantime, I'm stuck scrabbling around on the Internet to find them.

Yesterday, both orders arrived on the same day.  The first was in the mailbox and I opened the envelope at the mailbox.  That kind of excitement is pathetic, isn't it?  I had ordered ten Itoya Paperskater pens, 0.7mm.  What I got were twenty Itoya Paperskater Synergy pens, 0.5mm, ten of which had bled all over the inside of the package and didn't even work.   I called the company and they were pleasant enough on the phone.  I couldn't come right out and say to the nice woman that if I didn't get the actual pens I liked, I wouldn't order anything from them again.  I hate it when people are pleasant in a situation like that but do nothing to fix the problem.  I did get ten functional pens.  This woman didn't understand that feeling of having your favorite pen in your hand.  She just didn't.  Well, okay, I paid for ten pens and though my hands were covered with leaked ink, I got ten working pens, just not quite what I wanted. 

Then my other package came.  I was happy again.  At least I had lots of refills for the three pens I did have left.  I go through the refills surprisingly quickly.  There were five packages of refills in the box.  I had ordered fifteen.  When I sent an email about where the other refills were, a nameless reply told me that the ones with blue ink were not available.  I like blue ink.  Why is it so hard to get blue ink?  So they credited me.  Great.  I just paid seven dollars in shipping for five pen refills.  All that joy over my favorite pen has leaked away and made a mess, just like the ten crappy pens they sent me. 

So if you want to know the truth, I've had a bad day, what with Nick going straight from a stomach flu to a respiratory infection along with the requisite breathing issues.  He's taking Prednisone again.  That'll be ten pounds added to his weight by the time it wears off and five days of jittery, easily frustrated boy.   I'll be dozing on the recliner tonight, listening to him cough.  I got a call from his school today.  It looks like he's not going to be able to go to fifth-grade camp because of ineptitude or attitude, I'm not sure which.  They're trying to convince us to just send him, yet I still have absolutely no information about the menu, cross-contamination, or how well they discipline kids who bring forbidden snacks.  As if that's not enough, we have raccoons in our attic.  Does that explain why I'm obsessing over a stupid pen?  If I need to, I can use any old pen to write.  It's just nice when I can actually have one small thing that makes me happy when the rest of my day is going to shit. 

Thank you for listening, jb

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