Recently I went to a stationery store – or perhaps more accurately, I could call it an office products store, though it is set up as much for a home office as a large corporate office. I used to buy my blank cards there, pre-folded for printing my own photos. A few years ago they stopped stocking them. I raided another branch of their entire stock – luckily on sale too – and fortunately still have some left. What I’m going to do when they’re gone I don’t know. These days, going to the store just reminds me of this quandary.
But I digress. The store is, of course, full of stationery. I drool at all those blank notebooks and writing pads and binders and folders, all those different pens and colours and pencils. Of course, with laptops and tablets and phones these days, I never really need a notepad. But still. It doesn’t stop me wanting them.
There’s something about an empty notepad or book. A favourite time at school was the beginning of a new year, opening a new exercise book, unmarred by mistakes or awkward writing or ink blots, ready to be filled with wisdom and information, or perfectly solved maths problems. I still love the idea of writing in new pads, with all those pristine empty pages and lines waiting to be filled.
So it was torture to go to the store near the beginning of the school term. Table after trestle table was covered in exercise books and notepads, all on sale, none of which I needed to buy. But I couldn’t resist. Even though I had
little no need for yet another new notebook, I bought one. One. Yes, I restrained myself. The fact that I’d been given some beautiful notebooks just before Christmas, and that a week or two earlier – as I was looking for birthday presents for the twin nieces in one of my favourite gift-buying stores – I had found some notebooks heavily discounted, with exotic travel location photographs on the cover, and purchased them, helped me limit myself. But I couldn’t walk past them completely. They were only 49 cents. I needed one, at least. I’m sure you understand.