Róisín Ingle on . . . notes to self


Note to Self:

stop losing things. Is a v v annoying habit. Also, you are not 15 anymore. You are an ancient grown adult with responsibilities. Act like one.

Yes, I lost my diary again. This is the easiest and quickest way for me to apologise in advance for all the assignations and events I am not going to turn up to because I left the diary – one of those chunky, impossible to lose ones – somewhere. If you have it, could you please give it back? There’s nothing really worth knowing about in there. The mobile phone number written beside the words “Michael” and “Fassbender”, to the right of all those doodled love hearts, is not going to be any use to you really is it? Come on, be a friend.

I used to keep all my important dates in my phone. But I stopped because it was too fiddly. Not solid enough. Now it’s gone and my phone calendar mocks me with its emptiness. It’s okay though because there are other things I need to remember and I won’t forget those because I keep all my Notes to Self on my phone. Little reminders of important stuff typed out with my clumsy fingers in profound and frankly indecipherable mini-memos. Mostly they are ideas for articles or books or shopping lists or parenting tips or Zen self-help messages. “Like a dew that vanishes, like a phantom that disappears, or the light cast by a flash of lightning – so should one think of oneself. Ikkyu.” say. I write them, and usually forget to ever look at them again. When I trawled through them recently I decided I must have written them when I was drunk. Or asleep. Or both.

For example, one of the notes – which as it happens, resemble little yellow Post-its typed in friendly writing on my iPhone – simply says: “Tangerine breeze blocks!” And there’s no point trying to figure it out, or why it needs an exclamation mark, there just isn’t.

Then on another page, on its own, without anything as useful as a context, is written: “Her breasts swelled up”. Then: “You didn’t look for the subtleties when the razzle dazzle is in front of you”. You what now? Maybe I didn’t actually write these things. Maybe somebody wrote random razzle dazzle words into my phone when I left it in the toilet that time, just to mess with my head.

“Our sales have gone up which speaks to our increased efficiency . . .” Ah! Finally! I think I know what I was going on about there. I was sending myself a little note about this new habit some people have of talking about stuff that “speaks to” other stuff. Instead of just saying our sales have gone up because we’ve become more efficient, they say it “speaks to” something. It is up there with my most-hated expressions now.

Other sayings I am currently in the business of despising: workflow. It’s been said in my hearing a lot lately. Every time I hear it the world gets a bit greyer, the sun shines a little less, quite possibly a tiny baby kitten or three dies. I know these days words – is it even a word? I don’t think it’s a word – such as workflow have to be said or else the work might stop flowing. I just wonder how people worked, and if anything ever got done, before workflow was a thing. I just wonder, that’s all.

I seem to write stream of consciousness notes to myself. To describe them as Beckettian is taking liberties but there’s definitely a whiff of sub-par Virginia Woolf about them: “Monopoly, Nama, I took a spoon out of the sugar bowl and used it as a back scratcher. Orphan Black. Wallis & Gromit. Spend less money, look after more things.”

I’ve a mind to delete all these Notes to Self. I am not learning anything from them except that when I write Notes to Self I obviously go off in some kind of reverie where time and space blur; where I use teaspoons as back scratchers and where I have some misplaced idea that the future me will know exactly what I’m going on about. “Pink on the walls,” one note reads. “Woman leaning back while man blows on hair, computer screens, holiday romances”. Nope. Not a notion.

In this barmy world of notes to myself I am like a dew that vanishes, like a phantom that disappears, or the light cast by a flash of lightning. Note to Self: get a new diary that won’t vanish like the dew. Write things in it that make some kind of sense. Try very hard not to lose it. The End.


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