In honor of this anniversary of my blogging, an enterprise that has led me from one of the darkest moments of my life to some of the most fun and triumphant, and in honor of my nephew who is five and starting kindergarten this year and is apparently as much of an office supply junkie as I am, I am reposting the second post I ever wrote. Originally posted on August 13, 2005, I can honestly say I feel the same way now as I did then...just with less access to the goods.
I Love Office Supplies
I started a blog yesterday, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a notebook to jot some thoughts down in. That way, I can hopefully have some semblance of order as I write my daily…or, let’s be honest, if I am lucky, bi-weekly…musings.
I knew the exact notebook I wanted for this task; a National Brand, Narrow Ruled, Single Subject notebook with 80 sheets. Not just any sheets… “Eye Eases” sheets. The sheets are a soft creamy-yellow color with pale green lines; the cover is sturdy tan cardboard. The notebook is a small and artistic 8¼ x 7” and it fits perfectly into the tote bag that I take to work with me. Opening the notebook to its first crisp, cool page is like standing at the beginning of great story and having no idea where it will go. Eighty smooth, buttery invites to possibility. I really love this notebook.
Of course, the only way to get this notebook…if you live my life…is to hope that the office supply lady doesn’t remember that you already have four of these when you enter her office and ask to have another. Thankfully, she was nowhere to be seen when I happened upon the office supply space she calls home. While I was standing there pilfering the perfect notebook, I was overtaken by a feeling of pure joy racing through my veins. Not just the joy of obtaining my 5th perfect notebook, but the joy that comes from standing in a room where the pens are lined up neatly in rows, the erasers are void of any marks and the reams of paper are still tightly arranged in impenetrable blocks. I drank in the fresh scent of ink and paper and let out a huge sigh. The kind of sigh that comes from knowing you have traveled through many twisting paths to get to where you are now, and now you feel safe.
This love for paper products and writing implements is not a new one for me. School supply shopping was my first real taste of ecstasy. Heading out to the local K-Mart to get multi-colored folders while begging for a Trapper-keeper (that I never got because they are too expensive) seemed a right of passage to every coming grade. And yet, my insanity goes back even further to when I got my very first box of crayons. I actually mourned every single crayon in the box of 64 as I ended its perfection with one single swipe of color. It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered that I could have two boxes of crayons, one for using and one for keeping perfect.
All of this reminds me of Emma Mae’s monologue, “McDonalds”, in Jane Martin's collection “Talking With”. Emma Mae, who is homeless, starts out saying “If I had one wish in my life, why I’d like to live in McDonalds”. She continues to talk about everything from how nice the kids are who work there to seeing a man healed by a Big Mac. But she also takes time in her monologue to let us in on her secret. She loves McDonalds because of the plastic. Because no matter what happens, no matter how long the McDonalds has been there or how many shifts of nice kids have come and gone, the plastic trays are always perfect; unscratched and unfaded; the same brilliant color as when they first were made.
So, does the joy I get from standing in room full of crisp, new office supplies, the excitement I feel just thinking of my favorite notebook and the need I have for crayons to be lined up and unmarred, really define me as a person who only wants perfection out of life? If given the option, would I keep another life on the side, perfect and unused? I’d like to think no. I have learned enough to understand the boredom of perfection and that the scars we gain from life can only embellish the brilliant colors we were born with.
So I am going to continue to sweep large arcs of color with my crayons and I’m going to fill up my notebook. And even if I break a tip, or bend a page along the way, I am going to celebrate the beauty and the individuality that those marks define in me. Besides, if I need to, I can always stop in to visit the office supply lady and get notebook #6.
Happy anniversary, blogiverse...its been quite a colorful ride!