Notes on Notebooks [pt.II]

Then they [Globus sales staff battling complex identity issues stemming from the products they should promote as compared to their own abject income levels and class belonging, painful C-type[1] contradictions] they have also put on display these high-priced and atrociously pastel-colored[2] notebooks. Perhaps these two downsides [downwind from toxic power relations] could be condoned but the Frenchies come with a transparent plastic front cover, which most certainly cannot be. Condoned.

Earlier in the day I’d been to Coop [same derivation as the English expression, I suspect] and OF [a local bookstore, akin to B&N, sizable but not Amazon-grade evil] to check for notebooks and left both unhappy, forlorn, [mesmerized by an imaginary notebook[3] of a thousand and one pages.] Reality presented me with prices and paper quality I could not befriend, not even facebook-type friends.

[Tangent 1: Perhaps the only page that is for me is the digital one, the one which might be a nightmarish desktop background, a mundane excel table, the photograph of a loved one one[4] then a stunning motion picture the next moment and yet still text, always, in the final analysis, text. A page the size of life, encapsulating it whole and that can yet turn to black at the press of a button. A phantasmagoric page in the actual sense of the look-up-able word, a page from the devil’s book.]

In the fullness of time, steeling my sensibilities against the possibility inherent in considering the products of yet a third office supply store, I came to realize that choice or lack thereof was not really the issue. It hardly ever is in matters of consumption. The problem was my accursed, ideal, mental notebook: beholden to a narrow price-range [friendly but not demeaning to my famished wallet], of unmistakable jacket-texture [leathery, yet no animals injured or killed in the production thereof], of supreme sheet consistency and probably, perhaps… certainly most important: perfect heft. It does not exist!

[Tangent 2: This is an acceptable state of affairs though: whenever we really search for something we should brush up against the very boundaries of existence, that is, where things are, where they are not and where they can never be.]

The Moleskines [does anybody in this world know how to pronounce this???] are too blunt or conventional a signifier of status/anxiety/ exaggerated ambition/ 2-cent lit-glam. Whereas the lower-price range underwhelms the would-be old-skool ink spiller with its flimsy, see-though, ass[5]-wipe paper quality.

As does this notebook right here [black, sturdy cardboard with the smooth imitation-grain of a decidedly weird reptile, over-sized red corners and red spine with minuscule, floral, pointless embossing of fin-de-siecle France that is only visible upon close scrutiny], found and despairingly purchased at store number three or four or even five. Not the number counts, the effort does. You [I] have to neatly fold the pages along the fault-line after you [I] turn a right page over to the left so your [my] flying or doddering Caran d’Ache ballpoint will not punch a hole through it [yeah, everybody hates a hanging chad] once it reaches the right margin. In books I believe this be the gutter where crumbs, hair and squashed insects spend their secret afterlives and plot to regain the world.

[Tangent 3[6]: The ideal notebook, like the ideal sentence only exists in the study of a very wise, very old man on a very far away planet where none of us can ever go. To go shopping for it is as though it might materialize on one of the numberless shelves of our world is a fool’s errand. And I, for one, am a hell of a fool, a madman running across the pages with a pointy, multi-colored hat. At least I make a genuine attempt to be such a dunderhead though some people prefer to call me childish, an adjective I heartily embrace as well. Ayh, you lovely tangents!]

Resigned to the stubbornness of reality I settle for the Red and Black abomination because its color-coordination suggested some type of anarchist or communist sympathies. Meanwhile its sharp-edged cover indicates that it will withstand the rigors of time and an unwelcoming, tome-riddled backpack and, if need be, serve as an instrument for inflicting blunt force trauma.

And naturellement I had an ulterior agenda too, a fantastic daydream actually. That at some point in the future the twice daily commute would not be the scene of despondent travelers gazing out to the window-framed rushing retina stimulation, fingering their iPhones or blabbering on their cells [profligate, pretending not to fritter away irrecoverable moments] but instead a tense silence. Not a silence. Each of us bent over their notebook, all the domains of notebooks, frantically scribbling away, the air between us filled with the scratchy sound of pen against paper, spray and fumes of ink [Or the plasticky, clattering sound of keyboards being hammered with a vengeance?] To write about life more deeply, more meaningfuly than the person sitting next to one, to have filled more pages than the rest of the car by the commute’s end, driven by frenzied ambition, pouring both ink and sweat.

1 core issue left for personal consideration...

[to be continued[7]…]

[1] But you didn’t have to go searching all the way down here because, let’s face it, you already know. You just know. C, big C.

[2] The darling color-tone of French National TV back in those romanticized days when watching TV still seemed vaguely acceptable.

[3] About which more later

[4] Correct: two ones

[5] There, I just wrote “ass”. And for comprehensiveness’ sake: fuck, shit, sex. Please, a foot-note on “ass”…what could one reasonably expect?

[6] Time to bring this up: very, very, very few texts are circular so why are paragraphs like this called “tangential”? As somebody who loves to digress I “smell a nigger in the woodpile”, as one once used to say.

[7] Just kidding, I am so over this bothersome subject. Indeed, I am trying to figure out why I [or you for that matter] bothered? Interesting.


About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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