My first grown-up job was as a liability claims adjuster for a big insurance company. I didn’t know the job existed until I got it, but it was the perfect Venn diagram of my skills and interests.
Because we adjusters went to court a lot, one of the things drilled into us was that in a trial, our notes will be enlarged to wall size and every line, word, letter, and stray mark will be scrutinized, so they better be correct because you will have to explain each of them to a jury of someone else’s peers.
Not a problem. I’ve been a scrupulous note-writer my entire life.
Take, for example, this letter to the Tooth Fairy. Spelling notwithstanding, it’s as factual as it is altruistic.
I’ve since left that insurance job and retained all my permanent teeth, but the lesson in note-taking remained with me. To this day, I need notes like an astronaut needs oxygen. Like a car needs tires. Like a mosquito needs the back of my arm.
Problem is, I don’t always know what they mean afterward.
I used to rely on Facebook to politely baby-sit part of my brain. Once upon a time, I’d be able to save a video or article on my wall that someone else had posted. I’d make a note to myself that I was “saving for later” because I rarely had time to read or watch it in its entirety, but I wanted a reminder to go back and do so. Unfortunately, when I’d go back, I’d see this …
At that point I was left to rely solely on my own wits.
Yeah, you’re way ahead of me.
I’d see things like this:
I know that I need a reminder to pick up Nala’s poop from the grass before the guys come to mow the lawn every week. (I did rewrite this one to read “pick up poop for lawn guys.” I didn’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.)
I know that my husband had a meeting and I wasn’t punishing him by withholding some dubious but theoretically delicious meal from him.
I know that while ants might be a good present for an eight-year-old’s birthday, it was simply two separate thoughts written close together as a thrifty and space-saving technique. I’m sure Amy received something much more in line with her registry and status as an adult. A car perhaps, or maybe a spatula.
You might ask why I save all these notes. An excellent question. Probably in case I need to go to court.
There are also the helpful notes taken in the course of my writing career.
(Gah. Reading this sentence is like watching sausage being made. Took seven tries.
“I do word stuff.” *beats chest like ape*)
You know those were stellar writing days!
But then there are notes like this one I find all too often. I suspect I wrote it in my sleep, although there’s really no way of proving that.
“Doll’s yard. Emails. Joe’s house. Winner?”
Perhaps it’s a very clever Six Word Story in the manner of Ernest Hemingway.
But I doubt it.
What do you think I meant? Have you left yourself any cryptic notes? Were you able to decipher them? Can you imagine seeing notes to yourself projected upon a wall whilst you’re forced to ‘splain ‘em … under oath??