It was just over eleven years ago, December of 1995. I was unemployed, my car had just had a rebuilt engine put in, and I was rapidly plummeting toward flat broke. So I went and did the obvious thing, and purchased a beautiful but utterly useless item: a cherry wood rocker blotter.
Over the past dozen-odd years, I've picked up a number of little items which I call my "gear." Most of them dirt cheap, none of them more than moderately expensive. Usually items of no practical utility whatsoever. But they strike a chord somewhere deep within me. And they add, in a small but real way, to the long-term beauty of my everyday life.
That rocker blotter has sat for years now on my desktop. Even though I often write with a fountain pen, I've never used the rocker blotter on fountain-penned ink. No, it just looks cool sitting there on my desk. In its own small way, it adds to the quality of life.
The inlaid wooden strip on top, according to the Levenger catalog, was manufactured in the 1930s and lay undiscovered in a warehouse in Paris for many years. After it was found, someone got the bright idea of inlaying it in these rocker blotters. When I first got the rocker blotter, the cherry wood was quite light. Over the years, I've watched it darken and mellow.
Like I say, most of my items of "gear" are of no real use. (My Swiss Army knife would be an exception.) But still, my life would be poorer without them. You could call my "gear" hyacinths for the soul. Of course, it should come as no surprise that in an age when fewer and fewer credit the soul, fewer and fewer find value in hyacinths.
Now all I need to do is find some green blotting paper, to replace the light brown that I've used all these years in the rocker blotter. I visit office supply stores and whatnot, not so very infrequently. You'd think one of these times I'd take the time to stop and look?