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Insularity

Posted by Dirck on 10 September, 2012

A fine weekend just past, both in the usual weathery meaning and in my more specific milieu; I got to handle an early Duofold which showed but two of the thousand signs of age (pictures to follow, I promise), and I completed a repair on a Sheaffer Imperial with such a vast set of cracks down its sides that one might well have despaired of the filler ever working again.  Despite these blessings, I’m still slightly out of sorts.

Reason number one is one of those things that seems obvious in retrospect.  I ate at Tony Roma’s, and thus feel wretched in my organs.  I can’t recommend it.

Reason number two is the title of this entry; I was confronted with more than usual degrees of insularity.  I’ve mentioned with some frequency that the central point of this exercise is not the polishing of my powers of on-the-fly composition (I don’t see any real improvement in that direction, alas), but to keep me from sticking my face into online auction sites and thus spending far more than I should on dodgy and only possibly restorable pens.  This does not mean, however, that I don’t have a budget for such things, and it is that arena in which I’ve been bitten by insular views of others.

On-line auctions are filled with frustrations, of course, especially for someone who’s trying to find semi-junk yet inherently desirable pens at lowish prices.  Primarily, people with deeper pockets, and worse than that, people of that sort who don’t recognize the mistaken description they’re looking at– I think now of something that was clearly not a PFM, but which was bid up to the kind of money one should expect to spend on that model.  However, what was particularly bothering me this weekend was a strange failure of many sellers to recognize the international nature of the internet.

This failing is primarily one which affects US citizens, but which also touches a surprising number of people in England (and yes, I do mean that sub-component of the UK specifically).  Some sellers mention specifically that they will by no means send to foreign destinations, which is somewhat foolish, but it is at least a conscious decision.  The really vexing ones are those who apparently have simply neglected to inform the site that they even consider the possibility of sending away to somewhere else.  “Oh,” says the (slightly) foreign buyer, “a Parker 51 in need of a new diaphragm going for $8?  Yes, please!” and then the disappointment of the site’s response of Does Not Ship To Your Area.

The problem is not invincible.  One can send along a note to the seller, enquiring whether they have a set policy against international shipment, or if it might be arranged.  Most are, when reminded that there is a rest of the world, quite happy to oblige.   But during this exchange of civilities, the item itself is usually whisked away by a compatriot of the seller.  “Dreadfully sorry, I would have been happy to, but as you can see….”

Three times this weekend.  The power of threes being what it is to Christian and pagan alike, I take it as an indication to give up even trying, at least for a while.

The final item of insular confusion is less vexing but also less understandable; a strange befuddlement brought to me via Insula Sodorensis.  It seems that yesterday Google Image Search brought no less that 698 seekers after pictures of my son’s favourite locomotive, seemingly on the strength of this entry and that one. I don’t get it.  Surely I can’t be that close to the top of the search page.

Today’s pen, which has been handled by customs agents: Sheaffer Sovereign
Today’s ink, made by them divilish furringers:  Herbin Violette Pensée

Edited the next day to add the promised picture.  Isn’t that a beauty?

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