Stationery & Sausages
I'm writing thank-you notes to all of the kind people who brought us various versions of chicken during my convelescence. Not only was the food delicious, but since my husband doesn't eat red meat I discovered new ways of preparing poultry. Always a good thing.
When I sat down to write the notes I realised that this is the first time in more than a year that I'd handled a box of stationery. I worked for a stationer for nearly five years. A cost-based accounting stationer. What does that mean? Well, it means that for every pretty notecard you see, I became very well-versed in how many cents extra it costs to have glitter on the card, printed lining on the envelopes, etc. I could pick up a box of stationery (or a paper plate or a photo album) in the store and tell you the quality of the merchandise, where in China it was made and how much royalty the artist got for her design. (Those who paint flowers for stationery are generally women.)
In all those five years, the shoemakers children never got notes, because I refused to write letters. Too much like work. But now I've good occasion for using stationery and no excuse for not writing. I'm surprised at myself, because when I cracked open the box, I clucked my tongue at the cello wrap. (That's an extra half a penny that they didn't need to spend and I'm just going to throw away.) I also clucked my tongue at how the art director didn't make sure the envelope liner matched the notecards. They apparently printed the notecards with a fifth colour but only sprung for four colours when printing the envelope liner. They should have spent more there and less on the cello.
And I'm freaked out that somewhere in the back of my mind I actually still care about these types of things. So let me warn you. I know they say that you should "do what you love" when you find a job. And that's true to an extent. But if there's something you enjoy--stationery, music, movies, books--you might want to stay away from making them for a living. Nothing destroys your appetite for anything like the manufacturing process.