Last evening I had the pleasure of talking to a couple of guests at the restaurant where I serve as a greeter. They looked to be in their late fifties, a nice couple visiting from out of town. They were on the other side of the desk from me and asked me for directions to a local attraction. I was more than happy to help.
I grabbed a piece of paper, uncapped my pen, and started to draw a map and write directions. The man looked at my hand. He grinned and with just a hint of mockery in his voice--okay, a little more than a hint--he said, "What, are you from the sixties? Is that a...fountain pen?" He laughed to show he meant no harm.
The difference between him and me at that moment is that I was prepared for that conversation and he wasn't. One of the many things that delights me about my fountain pen is that it surprises people.
I said, "Actually, I am from the sixties. I was born in the mid-sixties and I'm pretty glad my name isn't Moon Puppy or some other hippy concoction." It wouldn't surprise me if I found out that the couple in front of me were hippies from the sixties, but that's a different story. They both laughed and I could see them checking my name tag to see if it did, indeed, say Moon Puppy. It doesn't.
He asked, "Why would you use a fountain pen?"
Ha! Thank you for asking. Muhahaha...
"I'm a lefty, and the fountain pen ink soaks into the paper. Ballpoint pens smear ink on my hand when I write, and roller ball pens don't last long. With this thing, I can write all day without smearing ink on my hand or sleeve. One bottle of liquid ink lasts me about three years, and I have the pleasure of using a fine writing instrument. The best part is that highly curious, educated people ask me about it."
"Can I see that?"
I could tell he was no stranger to fountain pens. Like a lot of people who grew up before ballpoint pens were commonplace, he peered at it like it was some sort of malignant piece of history. Morbidly fascinated.
"I haven't seen one of these in years," he said. "Where did you get it?"
Welcome to my lair. "I got it online. Fountain pens are expensive anymore, but I found this one for $20 at www.xfountainpens.com
He handed me my pen. "Would you write that website down for me?"