Sunday, March 20, 2016

I can't be out of pens, can I?

A thought just snuck up on me as I prepared to journal during nap time: it is a strange day when you run out of working pens.

Well, for me, at least. Currently, we have a drawer with a pile of pens in it, but I know I have run out of pens before (it must have been in college) and for one reason or another it's always a surprise. There's a constant state of knowing that you have a hundred pens and it feels like that must mean endless ink for infinite words. Infinite notes written, documents signed, doodles scrawled, and of course the inevitable hands and/or property colored upon when a child secrets one away while you're distracted. Those activities are always a possibility because of the hundred pens that could never run out of ink.

But they do, they will, and at some point there will be no pens with ink left in them. And the-- I suppose I'll call it naïveté, because I can't conjure a better word --the illogical naïveté of that infinite ink paradigm leaves you open to bewilderment as you realize that you have one hundred useless pens and they all must be thrown away. You can't remember the last time you bought pens. And you suddenly recall several instances in which you declined to take a promotional pen from some salesperson because you had a hundred of them in a drawer at home. 

And then I wondered if that's what it's like in the penultimate moment of one's life. You realize that you're out of life. You just ran out, because life runs out. Even though it's everywhere and there has always been enough of it. And perhaps you are momentarily struck with a flash of thoughts, realizing that there are no more "things" you will do on this earth. Not a blink, not a breath, not a shiver in the cold, not a sigh of relief. You'll never have another itch on your shoulder blade that is only just out of reach**. You've done all the things you will ever do because the ink in your hundredth pen has run dry.

I imagine that I will either think ten thousand things in that last flash of synapses or nothing at all. I suppose it will depend. But I am predicting that no matter what, that feeling of naive bewilderment will be there in some degree. Defying all logic, I may have thought to have enough ink for a few more notes or, audaciously, a novella of some kind. I may yet show my hand as a doubting Thomas and despair of the end of my life's ink. Maybe I feel compelled to consider these things now so that when that moment comes, I can end on the triumph of a discovery, a mysterious question answered even if I'm the only one to know. That last thought, especially, can give aspiring psychoanalysts something to surmise about me, eh?

Ah, well. Here's to a full life and a full pen drawer. Cheers.

**Unless you die with an itchy shoulder, in which case, I'm so very sorry. I'm annoyed just thinking about it, trivial as it is. May we all be blessed to avoid such a fate!