Back to School

Yesterday, I went to Office Max. If that sentence doesn't make you wanna keep reading, then I don't know what will! But seriously, Office Max. I walked through the automatic sliding doors, my flip flops clapping on the black plastic floor mat, and the smell of school supplies nearly knocked me on my back. The clean scent of fresh plastic and rubber, of cheap metal and wax and so many pounds of trees-turned-paper. Paper that'll be used just as much for passing notes in class as it will for churning out math problems with mechanical pencils. Show your work. Yes, it nearly made me stagger drunk-happy in the florescent-lit aisles, the scent of binders, spiral ring notebooks, erasers, highlighters, folders, crayons! The scent of potential, of work to be done, of knowledge just waiting to be absorbed.
Are these pictures of crayons totally turning you on? Because there are few things that excite me more than a giant pile of colors. (These particular ones come from the work of this amazing artist.) No sir, nothing like a fresh 96-pack of Crayolas. Granny Smith Apple? Yes, please! Robin's Egg Blue? Don't mind if I do. Cerulean? Oh, oh yes. My personal favorite.

And speaking of crayons (still with us?), I'm about to show you something very special to me. This, darling readers, is my single greatest memory of young childhood TV-watching. It defies description, the liquid orange wax like so much flowing lava or nacho cheese. The sheepish grins of the factory workers, knowing that they alone hold the secret to all that is simple and wonderful in the universe, that they alone hold in their hands the source of creative innocence. When the music builds as brand new cylinders of color rise up out of those little holes like creatures from the earth, I nearly faint. The symmetry and synchronicity of it all is enough to make me leap up and sing, dance, pump my fists in breathless jubilation. Come on, you know Sesame Street has made you feel that way before.

I mean, awesome, right? And while we're at it, have a look at this stunning collection that doubles as both art supplies and art. My sister brought these 500 Colored Pencils by Felissimo to my attention, and they quickly shot to the top of my wish list.

But! I digress. As intoxicating as that new school supplies aroma is (if someone bottled it and sold it as perfume, I'd wear it), I didn't buy anything. See, I'm no longer in school. Somehow, though, I've still managed to start afresh each September. Change gears and do something new, the time of my little world still syncing with that of the academic calendar, two years after graduation.

And this year is no exception. The difference between now and the days when I used to decorate my plastic binders with obnoxious zitty pictures of myself and my friends (who were far less zitty than I, those bitches), is that no one is telling me exactly where to go, what to do and when. At least, not until I get hired somewhere and have an employer to tell me that stuff. I just had a job interview in San Francisco, and I couldn't help but think that maybe, if I do land a job (if not this one, then something else), I'll allow myself a few fresh school supplies, perhaps even a new box of crayons, for old times' sake. I may never have a first day of school again, but I'll have plenty of other firsts, and I can always use that scent of potential, of work to be done, of knowledge just waiting to be absorbed.


  1. My favorite is cerulean, too!

  2. I had a similar experience with my mom last week when we went to buy ink for her printer. Which always is a stressful adventure "Shit what series printer do we own?! Is it No. 56 or 58 ink?!" Anyhow, I stumbled upon those tiny erases in the shapes of animals. I couldn't help but think "Damn I loved those but they did such a terrible job at erasing." Always drawn to the damn color, shape and playful size.

    And funny you mention crayons. This past weekend while playing Trivial Pursuit my team was challenged to verify which colors were part of the original Caryolas in a true/false showdown. Note, white was not one of their original colors. "Well they had yellow paper back then so white should've totally been a color. True." FALSE. Add that to your arsenal of color knowledge.

    As you start that new job sometime soon treat yourself to some jelly pens.

  3. I really love the way your writing makes me feel.

  4. I am a huge fan of browsing through the office supply store. Something about the order it all holds and the potential for all the goods inside. BTW, love the crayon video, sure takes me back!