Coming Out

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m a pencil lover.

I know you’re shocked, it’s not at all what you would expect based on how I conduct myself in public. I think, though, that you’d be surprised just how many intelligent, independent women like to use pencils behind closed doors.

Call me old-fashioned, and I’d agree more or less. Some would say it’s just a more traditional way of doing things. That’s true to some extent, though it’s different in today’s society because it’s my choice. I could choose to type things (and do on occasion), but instead I choose this when I can. If it were forced on me, it wouldn’t be the same.

Call me masochistic, and I’d agree more or less. It’s definitely not the most ergonomic way of going about things, but that’s part of the charm. But the pain isn’t the goal, it’s just a side effect that I’ve come to accept. It’s worth it for the feeling after finishing a particularly difficult session. And the erasing- the scrubbing to cleanse the mistakes of the past.

Call me a slow learner, and I’d agree more or less. Erasing is not as simple as a quick deletion, not as easy as a few clicks to move on. It takes elbow grease, but the drawn out process gives me time to get over my missteps, to acknowledge what went wrong and atone for it before moving on. The result is the same either way, but the process is worth the pain for those of us of a certain disposition.

None of my colleagues know, of course. Nor do I think they would be able to guess. I can use the computer at work just as well as the person at the next desk. Better in some ways, thank you very much. On my own time though, I prefer the pencil thing. It’s partially for the tactile nature of it. It feels very real for me, and that makes it easier to relate to the world outside. It’s also for the head space. It forces me to slow down and truly think about things.

I don’t want to come out about this, nor do I think we necessarily need to. We pencil-lovers already have the right to vote, marry, and own land. No one needs to know what we do in the privacy of our own homes. If we want, we can reach out anonymously to a community of like-minded people to support us as we discover and develop this part of ourselves.

On the other hand, I also don’t think it should be such a big deal if anyone found out. I panic every time someone shifts the furniture when I host parties. What if a pencil rolled out from under the armchair? I’d try to snatch it up before anyone saw, but what if they did? Or worse yet, what if someone got lost on the way to the toilet, and came back with questions about that odd contraption on the wall in the corner of my room? What would they think? Would they judge me? Or would they open up about their own little idiosyncrasies and we could reach a new level of friendship and understanding?

8 thoughts on “Coming Out

  1. Interesting twist on a common dilemma.

    Personally, I’m more preferential to pen. It’s harder to forget your prior mistakes when they are made in ink. As the Santayana quote goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” My memory may be good, but its far from being eidetic. Ink helps it. Now if I can just remember where i left the paper…. 😉

  2. Thanks Anastasia- I’m glad it was enjoyable, even if it wasn’t one of the more titillating pieces.

    Kipling- I’ve never had much luck with pens- the ink gets everywhere I don’t want it to. In one particularly scarring experience, I somehow managed to get a hand full of ink while futzing with a pen in a job interview. Now that’s one mistake I’d like to forget!

  3. Yuck. I hated pens until I was forced to use them in college. Profs wanted everything recorded, including mistakes and corrections, and consequently required the work done in ink. It was probably my junior year that I made the switch and it has just stuck. I got my revenge though, my handwriting is a bad mixture of cursive and print, which when done in pen makes it nearly illegible, though in pencil it is relatively clear.

    Bigger question, do you like the mechanical or wooden variety?

    1. Never thought this would spin off into a discussion of writing implements, but if I had to choose it would be wooden for writing and mechanical for fiddling. 🙂

      1. Fiddling. Futzing, putzing, tinkering, twiddling, fussing, fretting, playing, disassembling, launching springs across a classroom or office, and other quiet, localized mayhem. That kind of thing 🙂 (didn’t occur to me to work that angle into the original post- would have been fun!)

      2. Ah I see now. But I think I you missed one synonym: “general naughtiness.”

        Working it in would have opened up a new angle, the personal/traditional touch versus the formal, more mechanical feel. 🙂

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