Changing of the Guards

20150302_083806I am on the couch jotting notes in my notebook on my lap desk. It’s Sunday, the lazy day. I sharpen the pencil as my notes full up the page and I near the bottom. It’s as though I am hesitant. When I get to the end of the page I turn it and wipe a tear from my eye.

This notebook is filled.

It’s time to crack a new one.

The changing of the guards is about to begin.

Notebooks are a part of my daily life, and I refuse to simply discard a filled one. I carry around each notebook for months. It’s gone to pubs and meetings with me, it’s been the recipient of my most embarrassing rants and crappiest tripe. But it never tells; a good notebook keeps secrets. It is my therapist, my friend, my brainstorming partner, my shopping assistant.

It takes in everything I have to get out of my system and it does it all without judgment.

Nothing fits my hand more comfortably than carrying a broken-in notebook. There’s the satisfying thud on a tabletop when I flip it open, the heaviness of the pages when they’ve been written in. The way it lies open flat and conforms to my writing style. Though I use my tablet for some notes, I could never give up writing in a notebook.

The ceremony has begun: put the old to rest, bring in the new. I sit them on the desk, the B Monster and I observe a moment of silence. I have a shot of scotch as a forty proof salute. I close the notebook and put it with the others on the notebook shelf. I rub its spine one last time.

I try not to get too sentimental, because now it’s time to bring in the new. The plastic is stripped and the spine broken. I jot my name and the reward one gets for returning it should it be lost – heartfelt gratitude and one Becherovka. A new notebook holds possibilities – what will end up in this notebook? The idea for another novel, blog posts, love letters. Also, I put careful consideration into the style of the new notebook. I want to go larger, smaller, a different color, a different brand. I’ve heard good things about Piccadilly’s paper quality, this one has a nice string, that one has a pocket for papers in the back.

It’s sort of the nerd equivalent of deciding to date someone completely different from your most recent ex. I am snapped out of my sentimental revelry and prepare to write the inaugural note.

So, why the pomp and circumstance over a measly notebook?

It’s exciting to open something new. Whether it’s cracking the spine on a new notebook or peeling the plastic off of a new phone screen. I attain an inappropriate level of joy from slipping my feet onto brand new Dr Scholl’s sole inserts. Maybe it’s because opening something new means completing something else. There’s a sense of accomplishment. A filled notebook means months of writing, a tattered pair of running shoes means months of running.

The first note in the new notebook commemorates the retirement of the old one. The second is to pick up new sole inserts.

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