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  • A Fleeting Ripple

heavy duty: a5 rhodia notepad

There is a cold day outside, people wandering through the streets, bundled up in their long coats and thick scarves. It’s hot inside, the sun blazing through the windows, blinding, shining off of every surface. The noise of the market in the distance reaches through the windows; the chatter of the crowd, their dogs barking, the motors passing by. It’s quite inside, the only noise is the whir of the computer’s fan. The window is thin, only a single sheet of glass, dividing the world in two.

I’ve been taking too many classes this semester, dividing my time in two different universities in two different cities. The commute takes a long time and my bag is always too heavy. I left most of my favourite pens and notebooks behind in an effort to downsize and keep everything as compact as possible. My “writing kit” used to only include a penroll of pens and at least two notebooks. Now, it’s only a Rhodia notepad, a beaten up TWSBI ECO and a lovely mechanical pencil to scribble notes in the margins of my reading texts.

I knew about the top-staple-bound orange Rhodia notepads to draw and write on. Generally they were kind of expensive for what they are and I didn’t like how my pencils and pens behaved on the paper. Then, I learned that Rhodia uses a few different paper types in their notebooks and you have to be careful about which one you’re ordering. I went through three A5, top-staple-bound ones. Two of them lined, one blank. All three had different papers. This one is a ring-top-bound with a different paper as well. It’s my favourite one by far.

I like the A5 size the most, simply because it is large enough to cram a lot of notes without being bulky. It fits on pretty much any lecture hall desk and on my lap for those extra-full lecture halls. Considering that this is a fairly thick pad of 80 sheets, the weight adds up quickly if the pages are large as well. All of the pages are perforated, which makes it perfectly suitable for clean tears to hand in for quizzes and the like. Top-bound is much simpler too, sometimes regular side-bound notebooks feel like they take too much space when you’re trying to fit all of your things onto a tiny table.

Let me talk about the paper as well. I prefer lined paper to write on because it keeps my notes organised and straight. Light blue lines on this paper are good for that, they gently guide you without being too obtrusive. The paper itself is smooth and lovely to write on, not a fibre ever snagged to the very fine nibs I use. It glides over the paper in a comfortably controlled manner. Some shading is visible and maybe the tiniest amount of sheen, but nothing too crazy. The smoothness combined with the thickness of the paper, it feels extremely luxurious, even though I don’t use this notepad for anything fancy. There is not the slightest hint of show-through and bleed-through, so both sides of the pages are usable.

My biggest criticism about this book is the plastic cover. I like sturdy cardboard covers a lot more than sharp plastic ones that poke and cut my hands. Considering that I use this notepad almost as a disposable scratch pad to just quickly jot down everything and then perhaps rip some papers etc. This is not a fancy “Oh, I’ll keep and treasure every bit of this notebook.” type of pad. I think on this paper. My writing in this book is messy, ugly and frustrating. Sometimes entire paragraphs crossed out, pages ripped, lines written again and again.

In the end, there will be pretty much only the plastic covers and the rings will be left. Plastic will be hardest to recycle. The plastic situation doesn’t bug me too much with notebooks I plan to keep, but with scratch pad styles such as this one, I’d really really prefer cardboard covers.

In the end, this notebook is currently my favourite one to use for social sciences lectures. For some reason I tend to prefer top-bound notepads for lined paper and side-bound notebooks for square grid. This fits my bill perfectly. I’m planning on keeping a healthy stash at hand in the future, just so that when I reach for one, I’ll never come empty handed. My unused notebook pile is getting smaller and smaller; I cannot bear the thought of coming back empty handed when I reach for another fresh cover to crack.

Thank you for reading!

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