Not just any old pen will do

I used to think I would be an excellent skier if I had good skis and, of course, matching attire in very cool colours.
Something slightly more form-fitting than my black-and-orange Moto-Ski snowsuit that kept the cold from my skin while I stood on Pembina Highway waiting for the Winnipeg city bus to rescue me from the freezing temperatures and whisk me off to the University of Manitoba; my orange scarf wrapped round and round my head as though my mother had dressed me for play during a blizzard.
Being warm out-ranked being cool, as I am sure you can imagine.
I used to think I would be a better cook if I had the right pots and the perfect apron. No ruffles allowed. An apron in a bright green, with possibly a frog leaping across the front, would fit the bill.
The ingredients then would jump into the mix with culinary precision, the aroma fragrant and the flavours decadent.
Alas, I am a mediocre cook at best despite having a wonderful apron and reasonably good pots.
I used to think if I had the right shoes, I could tap dance. And the shoes would know all the right steps and I would tap out a story in perfect rhythm with the music.
Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly would swoon if they witnessed my Double Buffalo and my Paradiddle, and I would give new meaning to the Scuffle Step.
I never owned a pair of tap shoes so perhaps that is why I didn’t have a career on the stage, though it wasn’t for lack of pretending on my childhood linoleum kitchen floor until my siblings held me down with harsh threats of stop-making-such-a-racket-or-else.
I used to think my world would demonstrate perfect order if I had the right refrigerator; a roomy one with shelves that move up and down and slide in and out. My refrigerator contents look like my cat put my food away.
And when I clean and polish and shine the insides of my refrigerator, the results–like my life–display an organization that prevails for brief seconds.
But (there always is a but, isn’t there, despite my reluctance to use that word in conversation and in conjuring up various options to problems) I’ve been on a quest for several decades now for the perfect pen.
I’ve found one or two that came close but despite keeping a healthy inventory of them, the pen was discontinued at some point.
I need the right pen in my hand to do serious writing. I can rattle off ideas and lists with any old pen, usually a pencil. But when I am in serious writing mode, I need the perfect implement.
I have pulled the lid from my last “perfect” pen, so I must begin my search again and I hardly know where to start.
I sometimes look longingly at the pen sets that are under glass at the pen store. I never look at the price tag because that would be foolish. One can’t take such chances.
It is bad enough buying a mattress without being able to sleep in it for a couple of weeks, to be sure. But to buy an expensive pen with no guarantee of its perfection is madness, plain and simple.
I went through a fountain pen stage in school–the kind that required filling from an ink bottle–and then I graduated to fountain pens that came with cartridges and they were exceptionally cool, but eventually I tired of the mess on my fingers.
There are ballpoint pens, gel pens, roller balls, and fibre tips of every variety, and though I like a fine tip, it can’t be so fine that it scratches when I write.
So before I leave for the Yukon to spend four months at the craft of writing, I must find a solution for my pen dilemma.
Time is running out but such challenges are the stuff of life (my tongue is in my cheek, just in case you weren’t sure).
I shall carry on.
wendistewart@live.ca

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