I want to tell the world. To scream and shout it from the rooftops, wear a t-shirt and a coloured ribbon and march proudly down the street with my comrades:
“I LOVE STATIONERY!!!”
I do, I really do. It’s the one thing that’s guaranteed to make my heart beat faster than Tiger Woods’ roving eye at a Lovely Girls contest.
God, that feels good. And I am not alone. The world is full of my kind. The kind who loiter on street corners, acting all natural, like they’re waiting for someone…checking their phone so as to appear busy. We hang around the doors of office supply shops like junkies, pressing our faces up against the cold glass for a glimpse of new stock…different shaped Post-Its, multi-coloured highlighters, dividers, lever arch files, foolscap folders…it’s like my dream Christmas list. Most of the time when we gather up the courage to go in and look around, we have a ‘reason’ on the tip of our tongues lest we are judged by the staff because it’s our third time this week. The ‘reasons’ vary – working on a project, an essay, getting them for someone else, birthday presents for our imaginary niece (that’s to explain the Scary Miss Mary notebook you splurged on last week) – but they know, and you know they know….you’re a stationery freak.
Even within this subsection of society there are different types of people. they’re divided according to what particular stationery hits the spot. For me, it’s journals and notebooks. All kinds. I’m weak for a brand new unblemished notebook, be it hardback, paperback, etched, designed, embossed, bound, moleskin..I just can’t resist. When I feel blue, I hit the bookshops and head straight for the supplies section. I’ll admit, August and September are my peak months – I go to Easons and wander around just for fun, picking up notebooks, copies, all the different themed ones – avoid all movie and music merchandise, that’s just tacky – but anything else is game in my book. I will admit I’m partial to the Emo designs, and I make no apologies for that fact.
One event a year is guaranteed to make me all happy and fuzzy in my tummy – January. Not because it’s a New Year filled with hope and possibility, oh no. It’s because I get to go forth and purchase a new Filofax insert for the coming twelve months. I like my week spread out over two pages, so that the weekend has its own page. I am that sad. This year I’m going to buy it early so I don’t miss the first of January – I like a clean start. I even start putting things in throughout the year ahead like ‘Classes start’ and ‘Cleaning my room’ – if it seems anyway out of the ordinary, it’s getting a mention. And don’t even THINK of writing in different types of biro or different colours. What are we, savages?? Same pen all the way through please if you don’t mind.
I also used the same pen throughout the entire school year, AND for my exams as well. It was my lucky charm. Partly because on some level I genuinely believed that the pen had muscle memory and would remember all the notes it wrote during the academic year and would start writing the answers by itself if I got stuck. And I know for a fact I’m not the only one who ever thought like that. You know who you are….
Anyway, this is just the tip of the iceberg of my compulsion. Forget Anne Summers, Easons is my den of sin. Art & Hobby is my Nirvana. I think that was a fundamental factor in my deciding to become a Primary Teacher; to mould my own personal army of stationery freaks and together we could live in a world where organising and filing was the fun part of your day – and I’d even encourage graffiti..as long as they sorted and colour-coded their cans.
Bring back the days of swapping Fancy Paper. The network of dealers, suppliers and underground paper ‘pushers’ made it the Eighties Child version of The Wire. I can see myself now…the Fancy Paper version of Avon Barksdale, running my empire through my classroom…I’ve got chills just thinking about it.
I’m doing up my CV as I write – and only on the best paper, of course.