“(waffles) it’s not healthy but it’s stacked so I guess you could say it’s a balanced breakfast”
But even though I can make sense of these misarranged utterances, I rarely actually employ them in the way that I had hoped to. Yet I still maintain the habit of recording them almost daily. Like rinsing your hands before and after a meal, there are some routines that persist without even realizing we’re doing them. But why? Was it something we were taught or something we once had reason for doing but now have unknowingly forgotten? In an attempt to understand the machinations of my own note-taking and how this routine/intention has developed with time, I investigated the contents of my journaling to find a correlation amid the chaos. Here are some of my discoveries:
The first pattern I was able to construct from these shopping cart list-structured notes was a series of defined chunks each corresponding to a different phase of my life. Some phases were marked by my love for a particular show or movie — first it was the British comedy “Peep Show,” then it was “That ‘70s Show,” and then I went through a period of involving myself with different cult films such as “The Room” or “Office Space.” Others were periods when I admired someone in my life, whether it be the sometimes sexual offhand advice of my Aunt Beth, the seemingly scripted wit of my friend Alex or the biting sarcasm of some of my co-workers. Unbeknownst to my admirees, I would often leave our interactions copying a few of the most memorable quotes from the conversation.
Originally this list in my notes was labeled “MOVIE IDEAS,” created with the intention that it might eventually fuel the inspiration for a script. I thought that by writing down these daily verbiages from people I knew in real life, I could write more realistic characters.
When I grew out of this habit of taking notes on the off-chance that they might someday spawn a film career, I instead started taking notes on colloquial conversations and mannerisms. After nearly falling in love with all of my housemates last summer, never having a large fraternity-like community before, I would paraphrase exact correspondences or shards of conversations I overheard. These notes were much more evolved than my early days of recording fragmented bits of conversation. At this point, I now had the foresight to assign people’s names to their quotes.
“Layla reads off a bottle of shampoo, ‘Shouldn’t use while pregnant?’ ”