Of pencils, notepads, Discmans and a Razr

…a 400-hundred word response to why I would like a wooden pencil. Overkill.

At heart, I’m not the most modern person. I have been using the same handphone for three years now, a hand-me-up from my brother. I couldn’t be bothered to buy a new one when my Motorola Razr turned stinky on me. I only like clam shell phones. And the reason why I’m not buying a new phone is because there doesn’t seem to be any beautiful clam shells around anymore. Nothing like the first-generation Razr which made me open my wallet and splurged on it. To think I was worried about looking ostentatious after that. The Razr wasn’t exactly the cheapest phone in town. A year after, Motorola released the second-generation Razr and the third and the fourth. Primary school kids started carry Razrs and my phone gradually lost its allure, physically and mentally.

I use a Panasonic Discman instead of some MP3 player. My Discman is already falling to bits – it’s not exactly new, having been with me for more than six years. The metal cover – I remember it was fashionable then – is covered with scratches and a faded Gakuto sticker, a reminder of my younger days when I spend hundreds of dollars on CDs from HMV. I would have to preorder those CDs, those limited edition, first-press Japanese CDs that cost me many lunches. I love the sensation of inserting a disc into that round player, hearing that satisfying click, feeling the physical labours of the bands I love. I’m probably deluding myself, but hey, what the heck. It’s an emotional response.

How do you rationalise an emotion?

Sometimes when I get tired of typing on laptops – as my job often requires – I go back to scratching on notepads. I insist on only using Pilot’s V5 – either black or blue. And proper paper that does not allow the ink to bleed through. More often than not, the notepads my office provides are too thin. I then end up using only one side because the other side would be unusable as the ink tears through it. But because I crave the physicality of writing, I continue my task.

For that same physicality, I sometimes pocket the pencils they have at Ikea. Those pencils with their insides exposed, turned inside out. Naked to the world except for a layer of lacquer. No hard mechanics there. The wood grain feels good against my fingers, cooling. I ought to know better but it just feels natural…no MP3s, no iPhones, no laptops, no Internet. Low-tech, the way I like it.

Which makes me kinda stuck in a conundrum.

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