Lauren drags me into Blick, one of her favorite art stores in the city. After a few minutes following her around looking at Things, I get turned around and start wandering around like a lost toddler. A small part of me feels like I’ve lost my mom—less in a “my wife is like my mom” way and more in the “I lost my only connection to the outside world in this scary place” kind of way. There are so many art supplies.
I look around for someone who works there, someone who could take me to Lost and Found and announce over the PA system that there is a lost boy looking for his wife, but I can’t find anyone. I sweat a little with worry and eventually find solace playing with things on shelves.
First stop, notebooks. I didn’t know there were so many different kinds of notebooks. There are some with lines, some without. Some with vellum covers. Some that have see through pages. I don’t know why you’d want see through pages unless you want the notes you’re taking to be little more transparent.
I find myself drawn to Rhodia notebooks. Partially because I don’t know how to pronounce the brand name—is it Roh-DEE-uh or ROH-dee-ua?—but also because it feels like a quality notebook. I snatch one, hoping to purchase it if I ever find the checkout stand. Maybe I could tear pages to use as breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel. Maybe I should look for a pen. That way I can leave a note to whoever finds my body long after I’ve died in here.
The pen aisles—yes aisles—are enormous. They look like endless server racks in some underground data center in rural New Mexico. Is that even a thing? Am I still in Blick? Little pads of paper dot the shelves in front of the pens. Is this where people leave their goodbye notes in case they don’t make it out? I search the floor for the skeletons of other husbands who were dragged into Blick, who got lost and, in a futile effort to leave a note to posterity, found their way to the pen aisle and left their Last Words. I sweat more. This is where I die.
Better write a note to say my goodbyes. I grab a pen and scribble something. I don’t like the tip. What number is this? An 03? Too clumsy. I try a Sakura Microperm 02. Getting warmer. I find it’s smaller 01 brother and write “I’ll always love you, Wiff.” The perfection with which the pen writes gives me a sense of hope. I’ll likely die here, but at least I can write my will with a beautiful pen. I take the pen with me.
I round the corner and move to the next aisle. Notebooks. How did I get back here? I look for my breadcrumbs. Realize I left none. I am doomed. I look up and notice a figure midway down the aisle. Is that another cutout of Bob Ross telling me that there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents? Was it a happy little accident for me to come in here, Bob? Or was it a mistake considering I now know where I perish? There’s light coming from the other end of the aisle. I squint to see if it’s Bob.
It’s moving. I see the figure. She’s moving. Even if it’s not Wiff, maybe she could help me, an angel sent from above, wherever Bob Ross is. I run toward her. She turns around. It’s Wiff! Hallelujah! I hug her like she’s just returned from war, tell her about the catacombs and the minotaur—there was a minotaur, right?—and we head toward the checkout stand.
I buy the notebook and the pen as a souvenir of my ordeal.
Which I now use whenever I want to record a new idea.
I love the notebook because it’s small enough to fit in any of my pockets.
I love the pen because the ink flows perfectly—just enough make the idea feel solid, but not soo much that it gets messy.
Check them out here and here. And if I ever forget them, I use Bear on my iPhone. It’s the only app in my drawer, or whatever Apple call the area at the bottom of the home screen. I can tap it and add a new idea in seconds. Check it out here.