The stationer breathed a sigh of relief today when I went in and brought four colour cartridges for my printer.
"Ha – you thought I was just going to ask for one envelope," I said. He smiled weakly, then quickly and with total stationeresque skill shifted his eyes to a display of pens on the counter. They're recycled. "Made from bottles" said the stationer. I'd just been in the library on Blackstock Road, reading an article in New Scientist about how the distant future for the earth is the extinction of all life, so buying a recycled pen, while a futile gesture, seemed like the right thing to do. Then the stationer's son (Stationer Jnr) came up to me.
"How are you?" he said.
"Poorer after coming into this shop," I said. The stationer looked hurt.
"I don't mean poorer spiritually. Just financially."
The stationer smiled.