Monday, February 9, 2009

A(nother) White Pen

What do you call it when you were searching for something and then you’d find something else that you weren’t actually looking for? Serendipity? Chance? Luck? It could be. But with my pens, I’d like to call it fate. And it was fate that brought me another white pen yesterday afternoon.

It was half past six already, and I was on my way home when I chanced upon an old, familiar school supplies store in San Pablo. I browsed through their selection of pens, notebooks and specialty paper, and even got several postcards for my Postcrossing project. As I paid for the postcards, something interesting caught my attention. Out of an old and battered box inside one of their glass cabinets, the silver clip of a pen is peeking out. I rushed the salesclerk to get the box for me. Lo and behold, the box had two identical pens of different colors: red and white. Yes. White. I prayed that it would be a fountain pen but I was disappointed to find out it was a ballpoint. And it had several dirt specks on its barrel. Then again, because it is a white pen, I asked to try it. It was my second shock that afternoon: it is a Cross ballpoint. And it is white. I tried it and it wrote smoothly. I checked the ink cartridge inside and it says A.T. Cross Medium. And so I went on to pay for it without even asking about its cost. And Holy Mother of Jesus. What a bargain it was. The original price tag says it is selling for 260 pesos, but since it doesn’t have a box anymore, and that it comes as an old stock item, they’re selling it for half the price. So I got a white Cross ballpoint for 130 pesos, or roughly less than $3. Oh, wow.

My white Cross ballpoint, on top of my Moleskine leather wrap. It's a joy to have this pen, never mind that it's a ballpoint.

If anyone is wondering why I got a Cross ballpoint when I have just indicated that I have made the switch to full fountain pen use, well, it comes from something personal. And of course, the pen is white. So I got interested. And it is a Cross pen. Then it gets personal. Because it is a Cross pen. Hm. Way back in college, one classmate had an army of Cross writing instruments: ballpoints, pencils, and rollerballs. He’d even come to class holding his pens instead of putting them in a pen case or pen holder, as if showing them off for all to ogle at. He would proudly display his pens on his writing desk and decline anyone who’d ask to try any of his pens. Hmp. I secretly wanted to have similar pens then. The glitter and shine of all those gold and silver pens with beautiful set cases is indeed difficult to take off my mind.

Through time, I got my hands on several Pilots, Parkers, Rotrings, Staedtlers, and even a Sheaffer 0.7 silver mechanical pencil that my classmates envied, because at that time, those were still hard to come by. (I still have the pencil now, and in very good condition, which should only be the case because being one of Tatay’s few gifs to me, its preciousness is unrivaled.) But I never got to own a Cross. Not one ever. And so this Cross pen is a surprise, a gift from a fateful encounter. My now chance to a past denied opportunity. And it’s a white pen! Aw, shoot. How many times have I already said that?

Here are several more photos of the pen (middle one), together with my other two white pens already, my Schneider Base medium-nibbed fountain pen (left) and my Parker Jotter (right). They are on top of a page off Esopus 8, Spring 2007, page 122. The painting is Gustave Moreau's "Salome Dancing Before Herod". For a better image of the painting, see it here.

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