small objects of absolutely no importance at all
There are small objects in the landscape of one's daily life, so small as to be invisible, yet one misses them when gone. Pen knives are one such item. I'd always had one in the car, but when my car was broken into last year it disappeared.
No problem I thought, I'll get another. Well, they don't exist anymore it seems. None at the hardware store, and I had to explain to the clerk what they were. At Canadian Tire I was taken to a locked cabinet of fearsome blades, each capable of skinning a moose. The Knife Store had Swiss Army knives but nothing with just a simple blade: the basic Swiss Army knife seems to necessarily include scissors. There was one lovely slim knife but it was $65 and the blade was very thin. Good for — what? committing murder? not a sturdy pocket knife for peeling oranges in the car, cutting cheese at the campsite, whittling bits of wood for some obscure reason.
I found above penknife, two blades, nice pearly handle for $6 in a junk store, which had many. A bit rusty, but that can be dealt with. I mention this apparently insignificant and quite mindless expedition into pen knives and their disappearance on the occasion of the iPad -- a lovely thing, I would dearly love one although they won't be in Canada till the summer. I'm certainly not against new technologies and still have one of the early iPods which has a physical presence that is as smooth and heavy as any hand held artifact in a museum: it is like a chrome pebble in the hand. As is this penknife, worn absolutely smooth in someone's pocket over many years.
What I find so interesting about the present is that while we live with mega-technolongical advances, the small sensuous qualities of objects are holding their own. Although we could live our lives as avatars in cyberspace, it is still important to touch beautiful surfaces.