Friday, March 16, 2007

In which I come out of the nerd closet

Hello, my name is Damsel, and I'm addicted to office supplies.

It had been months and months since my last foray into an office supply store, on my honor, until today. Today's trip into Office Wherever for giant thumbtacks was a bit like sending a recovering chocoholic into a fudge shop to get a glass of water.

I stepped in the front doors and was overcome. My heart pounded, my blood pressure rose, my stomach did flippy-flops, I got light-headed and I started seeing ... stars? No! Shiny paper clips and packages of twelve brightly-colored pens for $27! I was back.

During the drive to Office Wherever, I had tried to psych myself up. Only the giant thumbtacks. I don't need anything else. The self-deluding pep-talk continued after I walked in. It became a mantra I whispered to myself. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I wandered down the first aisle, toward where I thought the giant thumbtacks should be. I began to notice that they had rearranged since my last tumble into the deliciously whirling vortex that is known to the outside world as the Office Supply Store. The reams of paper were where they've always been, just on the left, there, but as I moved past that first section, things seemed... different. Darn. I'll have to look around... Only the giant thumbtacks.

The second area contained pens and pencils -- one of my true weaknesses. The teacher in whose class I student taught once gave me a fabulous piece of advice. She told me that the best cure for the paper-grading blues was to go out and buy a new red pen. Little did she know that she was only enabling me to continue down the path of office supply addiction.

Steeling myself, I did not allow my eyes to rove the columns of beautifully-colored pens and fancy pencils. I trained them on the signs above. "Gel pens, felt-tip pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils..." and on and on they teased. No thumbtacks to be found, here. I forced myself to move on. Only the giant thumbtacks.

The next section was labeled "teacher supplies", which is always a euphemism for "elementary teacher supplies". We secondary teachers don't get no respect. This section would have been easily bypassed, except that it also contained index cards and spiral notebooks and please, oh please, oh please, can I be a professional student? Because nothing makes me want to sit in a lecture hall and take notes like a five-subject notebook. *swoon* Weak-kneed, I resumed my search, bolstering my confidence by patting myself on the back for not having picked up anything. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I was now at the back of the store. I turned to scan the signs on the other side of the store. Again, I trained them to focus on those signs, not on the 90+ feet of supplies between me and the far side of the store. One read "Fasteners". Surely, I thought to myself, that is where they are. I'll just pick them up, walk to the front and check out. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I squared my shoulders and strode purposefully toward that sign, hardly noticing the gleaming new desks to my left or the shiny new printers to my right. All would have progressed exactly as planned, had it not been for the organizers and dayplanners lying in wait, ready to ambush as I walked between them to that sign that gloated "Fasteners". As I realized what was on either side of me, my step faltered, then slowed, and finally stopped.

I risked one glance, then two, foolishly thinking I could stop after that. I did stop, however briefly, resolving to get only the giant thumbtacks. I took the last three or four steps to the wall, located the target, and seized the package of giant thumbtacks. I dragged in a deep breath, then exhaled. I had done it. I had found the giant thumbtacks. Unwittingly, my guard slipped.

I turned back around, prepared to march straight to the check-out and purchase only the giant thumbtacks, and casually stepped back into the Land of the Agendas. This planner cover caught my eye, because it was red. I carelessly picked it up, and it was all downhill from there.

I love my planner , but I hate that I can't put papers in it. I'm forever carrying mail or something that I need to follow up on, and forever digging in my purse for those things because they fall out of the planner. I also hate that I never have something to write on. This cover would solve all of that, I thought greedily. I was so light-headed about the organizational possibilities that I immediately began searching the shelves for a planner like mine to see if it would actually fit. In about 30 seconds, I remembered that (duh) I had mine with me, and tugged it out of my purse. It fit! Glory be! A red planner cover!

My only misgiving about the planner cover was that the notepad in the back was a very plain white junior-sized legal pad. We can't have that ordinary thing in my lovely red planner cover, now can we?, I thought. I know they make pretty ones! I'll just go see how much those are.

Mantra forgotten, I took the long way over to the paper section. Heady with the consciousness of having decided to buy something other than only the giant thumbtacks, I browsed several things on my way. Back through the index cards and spirals I trolled, practically skipping by the time I reached the pens and pencils, and ready to break out into song upon reaching the Aisle of Pretty Papers.

Spirals and post-its and markers and pencils,
Index cards, folders, computers and stencils,
Hole-punchers, staples, and binders, d-rings,
These are a few of my favorite things!

They had a package of brightly-colored small legal pads that nearly set my feet to dancing. I collected them and cradled them lovingly with my giant thumbtacks and red planner cover.

Floating through the check-out, I made pleasant small talk with the nice checker-lady about gardening and painting.

Blinking and squinting as I stepped back out into the real world, I crashed hard, realizing that I had failed my mission to get only the giant thumbtacks. No matter, though. I had a new red planner cover.

Hello, my name is Damsel. And I am addicted to Office Supplies.


ann said...

oh my! that was quite the candid confessional! i admire your willingness to vulnerability regarding the true obsession with office supplies and organizational items. i, however, am still at the "justify and rationalize" stage. (aka denial)- don't ever tell my husband, i think i am just about to getting him to understand why the colored plastic coated paperclips are so much better than the plain aluminum ones, and why i need a steady income of them to ensure enough of each color at any given time for any given project.

Damsel said...

LOL, ann!!

Dude. We HAVE to get together more. All four (I mean, six) of us. It's almost like we're meant to be or something.

Lady M said...

Pens and pretty colors of Post-It notes, and it's all over.

Melanie Marie said...

My Name is Melanie Marie and I am a sticky note addict. It has been 32 hours since I last used a sticky note. Even though I feel a great need to use a sticky note right now, I have faith that this time I will be able to make it.

Wow, I feel much better! Thanks!

Oh, I also hoard colored plastic coated paperclips. I NEVER use them, I must just KEEP them.

Damsel said...

That's it. We're starting a grassroots movement. Post-it addicts, UNITE!

Anonymous said...

Ok I must be the only person that Post-Its DONT work for. Its not that I dont like them, I just cant keep track of them. I stick to my monitor and the disspear into the abyss that is my desk. (if you have seen my desk you know what I mean). betwixt the miriad of looseleaf notebook paper and various electronics devices and cable and cords and....what all.
ok fine....I admit it.

My name is Knight, and Im an Organizaphobic.

Anonymous said...

You KNOW I appreciate this post. Somehow defying the laws of reason, the knowledge of our shared insanities lends me some degree OF sanity.

You also know, I'm sure, of my own admitted weakness for outlet malls -- a weakness that rivals my need of a good Staples-fix now and again.

On the way back up to OK from G'town last week, I drove past the humongoid Hillsboro outlet. "Just keep driving," I told myself. "You can do it. Just keeeeeeep on a-truckin'." And a-truck I did... right past the outlet. Boo yah.

Like yours, however, and unbeknownst to me, my guard it did slip, and just when it did: WHAMM-O... GAINSVILLE.

"You know," I thought to me, "Mikel's birthday IS around the corner" - you know, the month-long corner. "And I haven't a thing to give him. It won't hurt just to LOOK. For him, of course."

So innocently enough, I parked and entered, chanting my own version of your mantra: Only the something-something ("something" since I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, of course. Just that it was for MIKEL. Yes. For MIKEL).

Let me save you the headache and just get right to point. Lesson learned: Vague mantras are useless mantras. To my car I returned: one hour later, $106 poorer, birthday presentless still -- but toting a variety of NEW and ADORABLE scrubs!! As for my pride and my resistance -- those are probably still in Hillsboro...

Aaaaaand I put myself on the schedule to work this weekend..... Tee hee.