On trains and planes, the worst thing is to have no pen. It's worse than not having a book.
It is as if you were ill and the cure was locked up in a closet you’d only get open when your suffering was over. It is as if you’d lost your country.
While any one pen carries a risk, the iffier bet is the pencil. The point breaks off in your purse, or grows knob-like and dull, so that in addition to having a pencil, you must make sure to have a pocket knife. We know a pocket knife isn’t welcome everywhere.
In any case, on the train my daughter asks if I have a pen. Sometimes even though I’m certain I do, I don’t. But on the train I do.