Monday, December 10, 2012

Pen geeks

I enjoy being a generalist. I have a pretty short attention span and that's why the field of public relations seems to suit me. The constant variety of work and the generally short-term focus on writing projects fits with my preferences as a writer. So I don't think I'll ever write the great American novel, and I'm fine with that.

I'm similarly flighty when it come to hobbies and interests. I know a little about a lot of things, but am not an expert in anything. A Jill of all trades, master of none. My dad used to make fun of me that I would never stick with one thing.

Today I brought a couple of press releases to our General Counsel, the top legal officer in the company, to review. He whipped out a pen to begin his edits, and I recognized the trademark shape of the clip as a Waterman. I used to have a gorgeous British racing green and gold Waterman rollerball that I lost in the fire of 2005, so I commented on it. We started talking about pens and he took from his coat pocket a very fancy fountain pen that he received as a gift from his old law firm and I recognized it as a Delta, one of the pricey Italian brands I looked at just last month ("Samhain 2012" - Oct. 31, 2012). I think he was very impressed that I knew that right off the bat!

He talked about trying to find a pen for his teenage daughter, her first fountain pen, and I suggested he try Art Brown's, where I got my Waterford pen. I poked around the site and sent him some recommendations in the under-$100 price range. He later responded with a very nice note thanking me and telling me how nice it was to find someone else with the same extravagant and unusual interest in fountain pens.

It's a small thing, but given how few things I could possibly have in common with a senior officer of my company, it reminded me that no matter how different we may appear to be, we are all capable of making a human connection around something we're passionate about. Geekery is not limited to the young.

12/24 edit: He chose a mustard-yellow Aurora pen for his daughter, so I sent him a link to this video on how Aurora fountain pens are made. He said he would share it with her on Christmas.