Lost pens, lost lives

I use a fountain pen. I’ve used one for my entire adult life. I am very particular about the way writing implements feel in my hand. I love the way Bic pens feel on newsprint, for instance, or medium lead pencils on hot press paper. The pen I have currently is at least 30 years old. And I am never without it. Except when I am on a plane to Europe for a 3 week vacation. Then apparently I am without it.

I nearly flipped out when I felt my pocket to take my pen out so I could write a letter on the flight over to Germany. No pen!?? Aaack!! Ah, I then thought, I put it in my briefcase. (Hm, brief is the German word for letter, I happen to know, insert toothsucking noise) So I got out my briefcase and it was not in the outside pocket where I tend to put everything when I am going through a metal detector. And then, the panic rising in me, I began a methodical search of the whole damn thing. It was not in the pocket with the technical pencil and rapidograph pen which was a super-bad sign. From there it was a spiral into resigned funk. I lost my pen. Although there was an outside chance it was sitting on my dresser at home, or at my desk at work (unlikely, but possible) so I was not without hope although I’d not have one for the 3 weeks of vacation.

They do not make them anymore, I happen to know from another episode of I-thought-I-lost-my-pen years ago, so there was no buying of a new one. Which was a bummer. But eventually I kinda got over it, it’s only a “thing,” after all, and I’ve gotten over other things that disappeared from my life that I thought would destroy me like the demise of the Green Sheet and then the afternoon newspaper itself, Mr T cereal, the closing of Gimbels (Marshall Fields, take your pick). It’s not that my life wasn’t diminished, it was, but my life went on.

I brightened a little when I realized I would be able to buy a new pen in Germany (feeling somewhat like I was betraying my old pen lost somewhere and wondering where I am). So I had that adventure to look forward to and once I was there I immediately went to some German stationery shop (another thing that disappeared suddenly, Daly’s Pen Shop!) and bought a Pelican pen from a vaguely unpleasant and just-on-the-edge-of-unhelpful clerk. Yeah, no. It was fine and actually it’s kind of ok to draw with but not exactly great for writing.

When I got home after 3 weeks of limping a long with subpar pen I searched my house and my office. No pen. I went online and bought a goddam new Waterman pen. Fine tip. While it was not going to send me into bankruptcy, it is not an inexpensive proposition. Fine tip, my butt. The inelegant squat nib made fat lines. I may as well have been using a magic marker. I was seriously disappointed but like other disappointments, would get over it, maybe even come to like writing with frickin’ dry erase marker.

And then a miracle occurred. More than a week later I got my shirts back from the cleaner…and there it was in a little “safe and secure” envelope hanging with the shirts. I let out a shriek of joy (In a super masculine way) as I clutched it to my chest elatedly. I’d left it in the pocket of a shirt. It must have been that candle I lit to St Knackw├╝rst.