I am an avid, intrepid, excessive user of the Notes app. I can and will and actually absolutely must write a list about everything, for my own sanity.
- ebt card
- hot cocoa
- red wine
- bok choy
- other green things
My brain is so loud. Maybe it’s the excessive amount of caffeine, or my overly chaotic “walking around town” playlist, or just a general, hanging feeling that I’m running late or behind or out of time. Either way, order needs to come from somewhere. And so, I list. I plan. I order.
- managers’ meeting, 1
- check email before, 11-12
- eat something before lunch im begging you
- coffee with sylvie, 3
- dinner with matty
- don’t keep watching alice in borderland im begging you
Part of this necessity is that I know myself too well. I know my traps, my temptations, my tendencies, and so listing and planning and ordering myself are necessary to avoid them.
And yet I know that when I wake up I’m going to immediately crave iced black coffee and that if I don’t get it, I’ll be in bed playing word games and scrolling Instagram for a couple of hours. I know that if I don’t check Slack and my email before I eat lunch, I’m going to forget to do it the rest of the day and then wake up in a sweaty, anxious panic to check it in the middle of the night. I know that if I don’t make a list of things that I have to do in a day, I’ll end up doing nothing at all because I’ll spend the day listlessly dawdling, deciding what it is I should do first.
concert list 2022:
- arlo parks, clairo
- boyz II men
- weyes blood
- sza, faye webster, the marias x2, green day, empress of, mac demarco, thuy, dominic fike, griff, jelani aryeh, post malone, weezer
- jbrekkie, julia jacklin, chicano batman
- declan mckenna
- mild high club
- rina sawayama
I also have a horrible memory. Did I send that email last week? Did I write that story about that concert? Did I submit that job application? Couldn’t tell you.
Lists are templates of my past, for my future. They help me remember, but they’re also copy-pastable; the list from last Monday is reusable for a rough outline of next Monday. Isn’t that efficient?
words i like right now:
This way, the jewels that I remember to jot down are always close at hand. They’re accessible, always reachable in the impenetrable memory of the cloud. Lists on lists, plans on plans, order on order, filed away on a single application on my phone.
Eventually, I had to start dating my lists — 100 versions of lists titled “tuesday” started to feel useless. And then I had to start pinning them, so the list of the day didn’t get lost; so that the important notes of passwords or activities to do or other unforgettable things didn’t become forgotten.
- watch anything
- l’autre femme
- camus, plus que l’étranger
Back in elementary and middle school, my school district would hand out free daily planners that spanned the entire school year. After buying a new set of pens spanning the rainbow, I’d attack my planner with an organizational, Type A ferocity. Math lists would be red; English would be blue; science would be green; French would be purple or pink, depending on if it was a vocab or grammar day. My half-cursive, half-printed penmanship has always been a sort of slanted scrawl, but the separation of colors and subject allowed me to breathe.
After departing eighth grade, I’d spend hours perusing Office Depot for the perfect notebook. The entirely blank ones left me with too many options, while the lined ones always were either too cramped or too spaced. Once I’d finally choose a notebook, I’d become anxious about marring the perfect pages, of filling the serene space with my disordered life.
- roman fever edith wharton
- rape by joyce carol oates
- emplumada by lorna dee cervantes
- winesburg, ohio by sherwood anderson
- the imaginary girlfriend by john irving
- history is all you left me by adam silvera
- zora neale hurston – their eyes were watching god
But the blank expanse of the Notes app (on dark mode) is soothing and nonjudgemental. Typos, if one deigns to fix them, are easily corrected, and if an item needs to be removed it can just be deleted. Items, moments in a day, assignments, appointments — just delete it, if it becomes too much.
But what if life gets too much? Mondays Tuesdays Wednesdays meetings classes outings getting coffee lunch dinner god forbid brunch. But if I have hundreds, thousands of notes on my phone, what order did I really bring to the chaos — especially if I follow through with less than half of my plans?
I WANNA DO:
- cal dive club
- berkeley poledance, find coupons
- drugs on the brain, a film class, creative writing
- speed racer
- get a septum
Make a list, and attempt to check it off. There’s no guarantee, whatsoever, that you’ll get to it all, no matter how low you set the bar.
Honestly the lists are futile. My day — your day too — is gonna go how it’s gonna go. If I can’t make coffee at 3, then we’ll try for 3:30, or the same time tomorrow. But I make the list anyway.