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University Stationery

There is a bell on the front door.

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As it jingles, someone looks over their glasses from a desk in the back. You step inside politely, at once sensing the orderly chaos, the accumulation of paraphenalia, and the impression of a hey-day many years gone by.

Everywhere is stacked the detritius of the analog office. You see rolodex files, metal swivel chairs, and ball point pens. Am I visiting a well-preserved museum? No. This is the real thing. I relish its aura, breathing in the aroma of multiple carbon copies and white-out.

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I’m in the presence of the great ancestor of Office Max: the pre-cursor to Staples. It is a small stationary store, a rare breed that is not quite extinct. It exists in a store-front sandwiched next to the oh-so-uber Middlesex Cafe and across the street from the bland body-sculpting palace.

In this store, I am transported to the 70’s. I want to get ribbon for my selectric typewriter. I want to pore over the weekly planners for 2007. Ah! here is one with a maroon cover and light pink pages which are separated by shiny crimson tabs.

I drool for a moment, salivating over the crisp unused pages and their fresh new beginnings.

Wistfully, I turn away.

I purchase my non-standard size envelopes and head back to my office with its state-of-the-art computer, its the palm pilot, its electronic annotation devices…