Thursday, April 01, 2004

graphomania

Today I was getting all freaked out because there is this very specific pen that I like to use when I'm on call, the Pilot P500, and a couple of days ago I noticed that I only had two left in my pen pantry. (Yes, Joe and I have an office supply larder.) OK, so first suspend your disbelief that I have an "on-call pen." Then try to ignore the fact that my freak-out was exacerbated by the fact that I lost my current P500 and got a stand-in pen at the bookstore specifically for my call night. Then, finally, ignore the fact that the stand-in pen I purchased (2 for $3.89, not a bargain) was the most frustrating pen I ever used in my life. Needle point my ass, Zebra Z4! That's one thick nib. Plus it kept bleeding through everything and leaving all these ink splotches on everything it touched, and believe me, I was longing for the precision point of the P500 in short order when the morning came.

(This is all only slightly exaggerated, by the way. I really do know all these pen brands and models. This is what happens to the part of your brain that's devoted to car trivia when you don't care about cars.)

This evening, I had it in my mind that we had to go to Office Depot. HAD. To. It was my mission. I even called the Office Depot in our neighborhood before we left just to make sure that they were still open. I needed my special pens, and nothing was going to stop me. Not even the fact that they didn't have them in stock.


MICHELLE
Whu? How? WHY? They had the Pilot P500 here last time! That's where I got them in the first place! Big box of ten! Right here!
(Gesturing futilely at shelf space)

JOE
(Pointing to a package)
Here you go. P500.

MICHELLE
Those? Are the P SEVEN hundred. They have a 0.7mm tip. Too big.

JOE
Big is good. Good for writing fast notes.

MICHELLE
Well, yeah, if I was working in the ER or something, but not for this, not for call nights on the wards. I need a micro tip to write on the flow sheets.

JOE
How about these pens? Ooh, they look cool and silvery.

MICHELLE
(Checking out packaging)
Even worse! 1.0mm tip. What am I doing, painting a house?

JOE
(Another box of pens)
These look like needle tip. And they're kinda like the Pilot whachamacallits that you want.

MICHELLE
Oh, the Pilot V5? Yeah, they're OK. I don't really like the grip feel, though. There's a ridge right here (points) that hurts my hand.

JOE
I see. Very specific.

MICHELLE
Hey, maybe there's some P500s hidden in the back of this row of P700s! (Digs) Oh, guess not.

JOE
So you want fine tip?

MICHELLE
No, fine tip is code for 0.7mm . I want Extra-Fine, 0.5mm.

JOE
You fine!

MICHELLE
You extra fine!

JOE
Heh.

MICHELLE
I'm going to cry, I think. I actually may have to shed the tears. Because they DON'T HAVE THE PEN THAT I LIKE. What the hell kind of store is this anyway? A store for ants? [Note completely non-contextual "Zoolander" reference.]

JOE
How about this?

MICHELLE
(Patiently)
Do we have to go through this whole fine and extra-fine point discussion again?

JOE
These are extra fine.

MICHELLE
Really? I didn't know they made G2s in extra fine! I had a brief dalliance with a G2 as a med student, but then one of the Psych nurses stole my pen and didn't give it back. Bitch.

JOE
(Fondling pack of blue pens)
I wish they'd let us chart in blue ink.

MICHELLE
Lemme see the G2s. Ooh, clicky! Don't have to worry about losing the cap.

JOE
It is a superior resident pen.

MICHELLE
But first let's try it out. Wait, let's simulate a work situation. Tell me something to do, and I'll write it with a little checkbox next to it.

JOE
Just get the damn pens.


We got the damn pens. Then we went to Borders and read for a bit, had some dinner (not at Borders) and headed home. But I'm still thinking about the pens. Did I make the right decision? Is the G2 the right way to go? Is this a new direction in my life? Or should I have just held out and placed a bulk order online for the P500s?

(If you think this is bad, you shouldn't even stand near me when I'm shopping for a new shampoo. We'd be there for hours.)

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