Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On my train home today I sat down next to a smartly dressed, neatly composed woman, probably about the same age as me. She was thumbing through a A5 notebook that was absolutely rammed with loose pieces of paper, glossy booklets, printouts and such. The thing was bulging awkwardly, and I noticed she'd had to use at least one mauly clip to stop the whole thing from disintegrating.

When I sat down she was chewing pensively on the end of her biro and staring at a scribble covered, densely written page of handwritten notes. Being a nosy bugger, I couldn't resist the temptation to glance across at what she'd been writing. What I saw was odd.

It was a list of names. Some were scratched out, others underlined; some had little numbers or letters in brackets after them. Several names had been written down, scratched out, then written down again somewhere else. There were little arrows linking some names, and a long tally of numbers written down the margin. The names were grouped together under odd subheadings like "Good News Friends", "Opinionated Friends", "Friends of Friends (Who have become friends)", and my personal favourite "Friends of Friends (who haven't)". At first I was a little baffled, why was this woman sitting on the train putting everyone she knew into categories? Was she doing some kind of life audit? What did the numbers mean? What was going to happen to the people who had been crossed out (Particularly Martina, who had a little skull and crossbones next to her name)?

At this point, she turned the page back on itself and I saw the other side. On this side the topmost heading, underlined several times, was "Bridesmaids".