The Missing Pen

I’m generally not a possessions kind of guy. Frankly, I don’t care much for things, except for some family stuff, two hobbies’ worth of good tools, my father’s two watches that get worn all the time, my wedding ring that I couldn’t take off if I tried, and my 50 or so fountain pens.

This past weekend I discovered that I was missing my “daily carry” Waterman 2-pen case and the Parker 75 it contained. On Friday evening, I was surprised to find that case’s other pen, my Waterman Stalwart, in my shirt pocket, but the case was not in my bag. Pens travel in their case in the bag, especially in the NYC subways. I’m a relatively habitual person; having some routines is my way of managing the chaos around me. So, not having my pen case was something of a shock. There were only so many places it could be: at home, in my office, or somewhere else. Home was quickly eliminated on the visible layer; it couldn’t have sunk deeper that fast. If it was in the office it was safe for the weekend. The third option started with a bar I like near work, where I had used the Stalwart to complete the weekend’s NFL betting pool sheet, and which surely explained how and when it got into my shirt pocket. That bar is a mob scene on football Sundays, so with a bit of dread I convinced myself that the case just wasn’t there, and waited for Monday.

I was surprised to note, over the course of the weekend, how much I regretted the loss of the 75, if it was indeed lost. It made me have another look at my pen list, where I noted a bunch that I would also genuinely miss —  the 51’s, a couple of Sheaffers, the wartime bandless Esterbrook Dollar, the Columbus Stiliridio, the Waterman 5 and French New Look, the two Bayards and Gold Starry, a couple of the Conway Stewarts, my 149. That’s 15, and I realized I’ve finally found the answer to the perennial Top Ten Pens question. Not the “ones I like the most”, because I like them all. The 15 that I would be genuinely sorry to lose.

Oh, and the case was on my office desk, buried under papers.