I've been feeling a little bit swamped at work lately. I've been so deluged with urgent tasks that I've been finding it a bit difficult to get to the important ones. On top of that, I'm on call for jury duty this week, so I keep having to check in to see if I need to drop everything and get down to the courthouse.
So I left work this evening with a big stack of notes and functional specs in my bag, intending to camp out at a nearby Starbucks and knock some documentation into shape. I was feeling pretty grumpy about this - I really try not to take work home with me.
On my way to the Starbucks, I spotted an art supply store. I nipped in, and emerged a couple of minutes later with a nifty sketchbook and an Itoya disposable fountain pen. (I love disposable fountain pens. Actually, I love all fountain pens, but disposable fountain pens seem like such an oxymoron - so much of the fountain pen experience is based on them being durable, refillable, and often made of expensive and beautiful materials. And yet, many disposable fountain pens write better than much more expensive fountain pens. There are even a few freaks out there who carefully disassemble their disposable fountain pens, refill them with bottled ink, and then glue them back together. But I digress.)
Instantly, I felt much happier, and I went to Starbucks and spent a very productive two hours kicking my documentation into shape.
Yes, when I'm grumpy, I buy pens and paper, and it reliably cheers me up. (Though, I made a minor error - the sketchbook I bought was nice enough that it activated my desire to save it for "something special". If I'd bought a more run of the mill one, I'd be having a grand old time doodling all over it, instead of trying to think of something suitable to its coolness. And now you know why I always have at least half a dozen blank notebooks of various shapes and sizes in my possession at all times.)
Really, though, I think the lesson here is that I need to get away from my desk from time to time. Maybe I'll adopt a regular "work from Starbucks" day.