That’s right. Stationery is sexy. I mean it excites the senses not in an erotic fashion necessarily, but at least in an erotic fashion some of the time. Stationery looks great, not so much like a woman in a bikini, but like your first girlfriend in a sweater. It smells wonderful. And, it promises to deliver something, like your prom date, or your bride on your wedding night. Maybe it is just the promise of redemption through virtuous order to our lives. Like a vow from the Virgin Mary in an irresistibly esthetically pleasing package. I love just to walk around stationery stores looking at the goods, almost just as I like to walk around dollar stores / ¥100 shops. They are interesting. I like the smells of paper, rubber, wooden pencils and rulers, and ball point pens, and geometry sets wrapped in plastic. Together they constitute one reason why I became a teacher and enjoy working in a school environment. I like pencils that you can buy individually as well as in boxes. Sets of colored pencils send tingles down my spine. (Come to think of it, so do bags of marbles.) Felt tipped pens of all colors and sizes promise unrevealed brilliance - not to mention the intoxicating odor when their caps are removed - it’s the odor of fresh whiteout, too. The fresh notebooks - soft cover and hard cover (I especially like hard cover notebooks) are not just lined up or laid out in flirtatious array, they also sparkle invitingly and coyly, like girls with down turned eyes. Some have plain covers, but many others are decorated with any number of printed designs, from graphic art to reproductions of fine art. The rows and rows of empty pencil cases waiting to be pumped full of lead, boxes and boxes of clips of various sizes and shapes, the envelopes waiting to be licked, the art supplies waiting to be opened, the writing paper waiting to be written on. Many tablets of writing paper bear exciting illustrations. They’re wonderful! Cardboard. Cardboard has a million uses. Look at all the tape: cellophane tape; duct tape; double sided tape; correction tape; and, my favorite, gum tape. It’s marvelous how gum tape comes in all the colors of the rainbow. (Remember that the Apollo 13 accident taught us that duct tape is indispensable, even in multi-billion dollar projects. You dare not forget your roll of gum tape when you blast off for the moon.) Don’t get me started on bubble wrap. It comes in many colors and sizes. It’s amazing stuff, and a good example - like Lego blocks - of how low tech still beats high tech. I mean, if people have a choice between playing with a few cents worth of bubble wrap in their fingers and a computer game costing a hundred dollars then the bubble wrap wins. It wins because it’s more sensual, by which I mean stimulating to the senses.
Stationery looks great, not so much like a woman in a bikini, as your first girlfriend in a sweater.
The stationery store ranks with the supermarket, school, church, the library, the sports club and the laundromat as a place to meet girls: nerdy, neatly organized girls with sensible shoes, sensible shoulder bags and sensible eyeglasses who turn out to be wild, libidinous vixens. Rrrrrrrrrrrr!
I like to walk around the shop and look at all the things that I don’t have or haven’t tried, but which I could do if I wanted to - just thinking about alternate ways to organize my life. Do I want my life to look like an IKEA store, an artist’s studio, a doctor’s office, a Gypsy’s caravan, a Zen temple dormitory, or a Canadian university residence? I am middle aged, but I’m still figuring out the answer. Life is a journey through stationery.