On the subway on the way to see a play today with my lovely wife Danusia I realized I had no pen to do my crossword puzzle with. I usually have at least one pen in each coat or jacket I own, but I dressed nice today since we were going to a real Broadway theater, and was wearing a jacket I seldom wear. I asked Danusia for a pen, and she produced a red pen. “Does this have red ink in it?” i asked. “Why?” she asked. “Because I need either blue or black ink to do the crossword, red ink is not good.” “Oh, I think i have a blue pen”, she said,pulling another pen out of her bag and handing it to me. I looked at it and realized it was a gel pen. At least the red pen was a ballpoint. “Oh, is that a gel pen?” “Why?” “Well, I can only do the crossword in ballpoint. I’ll use the red ink, at least that’s a ball point. I’m very particular about pens.” “Yes, I can see that” she said, a look of surprise on her face.
When I was a kid, I found an old fountain pen that belonged to my mother, she’d given it up for the convenience of ballpoint Bics. I cleaned it up, and bought ink for it. You filled it by dipping it in the ink bottle and drawing up the ink by pulling a little lever on the side of the barrel. You could also squirt ink out bu using this lever, as I discovered by accident, ruining some kid’s shirt at school one day.
When I went to high school, I was required to use a Rapidograph in technical drawing class, and fell in love with those. The ink was black, as opposed to the blue of ballpoint Bics, and I decided that any serious writing had to be done in black ink with a Rapidograph, and held on to that bent for many years. I finally gave up the Rapidograph for gel pens with the invention of the “Rolling Writer”, but sticking to the black ink.
Twelve years ago or so, right after my divorce, during wich I did an awful lot of journaling, I rediscovered the beauty and peace of blue ink again, and abandoned my penchant for black ink. I have a big collection of pens, and I always notice the pens others use. I’ve always wanted
a Mont Blanc, but they are a little expensive. Maybe someone will buy one for me as a gift one day. Asa consolation prize, the universe has seen fit to let me find a Waterman pen in an old armchair that was being thrown out at work. I cleaned it, and finally found some blue ink for it on a recent trip to California. I couldn’t find any Waterman cartridges anywhere in NY, not at Sam Flax, not at A.I. Friedman, nor Paper Presentation.
So now I use the Waterman for cards and important notes, Signo pens for journaling and everyday notes, and ballpoint pens of all persuasions for doing the Times crossword. All in blue ink, of course.