When I was 19 I lived with my friend Mike and though we got along well there some major differences between us, one of which was the way we regarded objects. He was very protective of his things; I didn’t have many things to be protective of. Mike treasured his original Empire Strikes Back collector’s cup from Burger King; after I accidentally kicked it out the front door and it smashed in our driveway he promptly shut off Mallrats, our obsession of the summer, and locked himself in his room.
After Mike bought something (I honestly can’t remember what it was) that didn’t seem to do anything, I asked him what he intended to do with it. “You just have it,” he replied. To me, that response made no sense at all; I actually didn’t know what he was talking about.
Since that time I’ve become more and more comfortable acquiring my own things and enjoying them for their own sake. I like to buy tchochkes while on vacation, especially little fake turtles, and I like my computer, my guitars, my keyboard, my camera, etc. Allowing myself to accept the acquisition and the enjoyment of new things has been a hard slog. My parent’s stereo is older than I am. To use their CD player, you have to unplug the record player (yes, the record player) first. Static erupts when the volume is turned up, and the tuner dial doesn’t work anymore. Until I left home I knew no other stereo. They just replaced their first VCR. I could estimate that thing’s age by our collection of movies we recorded off the TV when we first got it: Black Stallion, Old Yeller, and the first Superman.
I know that this independence from a consumer culture that tells us buy, buy, buy, even if we have nothing to buy, is laudable. But my parents don’t do it for political reasons (at least they’ve never vocalized them to me). They’re big motto has always been “it isn’t necessary,” and new stuff just wasn’t necessary.
So they probably won’t understand why I find Moleskines so cool. As many of you may know, I’m always trying to find better ways to organize my stuff, and over the last few months I’ve been happy to carry around a notebook to jot down to-do lists and ideas. I recently bought myself a Moleskine because it was more durable and here’s the shocker a nicer object than the my old notebooks.
I like Moleskines because they’re cool objects. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Also, I’ve discovered the cult of the Moleskine as well: Moleskinerie is a blog devoted to the joys and uses of Moleskines, and people send in photos of their notebooks and what they put inside them, like this one.
They’re amazing little things. Go get one, even if it isn’t necessary.