Since I had spent the better part of this particularly sunny and pleasant late summer Sunday indoors web surfing a seventies era Gillette Foamy shaving cream commercial featuring the legendary New York Mets ballplayer, Ed Kranepool*, and coming up short, I decided that the time had come to take my pasty white scrawny being outside for a walk while light still remained in the dwindling day.
*Ed Kranepool – is that a classic baseball player name or what?
Just as I was about to exit my sanctum sanctorum, I encountered an iPad box full of pens sitting atop the radiator cover in my building’s vestibule.
Although I would personally prefer the iPad it originally contained, there appeared to be many nice pens in that box. The radiator cover is where tenants occasionally place items they no longer want, usually dull magazines and junk mail, but one year I recall that someone put out some Halloween candy. I look at this stuff, but I’m not the taking type and it would be just my luck that I’d pop the piece of candy laced with a razor blade or arsenic in my pie-hole.
Pens, on the other hand, appeal to me. They’re user-friendly. I feel very discombobulated when I want to jot a note and I reach into my messenger bag only to discover that my pen is missing. When this last happened to me I had to buy an emergency pen at a newsstand, but much to my chagrin, the seller only had blue ballpoints. I utterly detest blue ink, but I had no choice, so I lowered myself and made the purchase so I could jot:
“If outlook on life dictates longevity, I should have been dead a week ago last Tuesday.”
Back to the present, I noticed that the iPad box packed with pens for the taking had many in black ink. I helped myself to four, but took one in green for it reminded me of my charming Significant Whatever.
I am certain that if she were a pen, it would not be one that’s generic and black. She’s quick with a clever quip. Recently, she cooed, in reaction to my always attaching photographs in my emails to her; the most recent being an image of a bag of artificially flavored sour cream and onion potato chips — after admitting that she did not necessarily require a visual aid to envision this foodstuff:
SW: I’m beginning to think maybe this is a form of OCD or Tourettes with you.
After I palmed my five chosen pens I headed out the door and proceeded to walk up my block at a jaunty clip. I observed a new bag in a new tree across the street from the other tree that’s been bagged since spring.
It was a satisfying stroll where I was subject to only one tiny bug flying into my face – and just in-between my eyes rather than into my glasses. My thoughts as I walked were primarily focused on the presidential election, new angles of intimacy with my Significant Whatever, and who left those pens behind and why? It was quite a collection that was accumulated. Did it take years? Some appeared to be from hotels, others from places including Yale. Were the rest purchased by their former owner or just absconded from the workplace, another great American pastime – filching office supplies? Or, was it someone whose mate laid down the law:
Mate: Either those pens go or I go!
When I left for work on Monday, the pens were still there, but it appeared that more were taken and my fellow tenants were indulging in this magnanimous gesture. When I returned home that evening, the iPad box full of pens was gone. Maybe their original owner had a change of heart and could not bear forfeiting his entire pen collection? Or, could it be that in the course of the day every pen was under new ownership? Possibly, my landlady now has that iPad box full of pens sitting in her kitchen alongside her ancient answering machine, with the message declaring in her Irish brogue, “This is a machine”?
There it is, another unsolved mystery about as confounding as why no one has yet to post that Ed Kranepool shaving cream commercial on YouTube?