To you it may be just a paper clip. To me, it’s a serendipitous emblem of hope, a curious mix of mystery and possibility.
It came into my life last week. Of all the copy rooms in all the offices in this bureaucratic, document-infested town, this paper clip wandered into mine.
I don’t know how it got there. I don’t know where it belongs. All I know is somewhere someone must be missing it. It’s too special to end up sitting in a communal supply bin, hoping for rescue from the miasma of ordinary office supplies.
There it was, carelessly tossed among the utilitarian metal clips, disregarded, possibly even envied by its fancier plastic neighbors, so obviously out of place but with nowhere else to be.
There I was, attending to my own administrative tasks after normal business hours, both of us out of place in this fluorescent-lit machine room.
For my part, I come here often, and when I do, I always check the bin for plastic paper clips.
I’ve been hoarding them for some time now, ever since the Great Recession forced our supply room to stop stocking plastic clips as a cost-cutting measure. Thanks to a highly placed ally and these stealthy procurement runs, my secret mission to maintain a steady stock of plastic paper clips has met with quiet triumph for almost four years.
Until this one appeared, a good catch was a handful of large plastic clips, which are slightly more precious to come by. When I surreptitiously cast my glance across the counter, I never suspected spying this. To say it is the coolest paper clip ever to have entered this room is a gross understatement.
Not only does it combine the durability of metal with the color and pliability of plastic, it’s guitar-shaped. You don’t just come by guitar-shaped paper clips any day of the week. It has to be special to someone, which means it’s quite possible someone else around here appreciates guitars. Or maybe music in general. Or maybe just fun paper clips.
Still, this is a rough-and-tumble town. This paper clip should be cherished, not haphazardly attached to meaningless documents and tossed in a bin, like so many everyday metal fasteners. I’ve taken it home, where it has been sitting on the sideboard. Every time I pass by it, I smile.
It’s a really groovy paper clip. For now, it’s one of a few of my favorite things.
This post is the first of a three-part series of “A Few of My Favorite Things,” the Weekly Writing Challenge on WordPress. Serendipity is one of my favorite things*, if a bit more abstract than would be in keeping with the spirit of the challenge. So I went with paper clip.
The challenge topic gave me a framework for writing about three things that have come my way recently through the beauty of serendipity, which, as you may recall (*because I just said so), is one of my favorite things. I just love it when things fall into place like that.