I have an old zipper briefcase from my last job of eight years, and I carry it around with my resumes, currently. Today, as I was getting ready to embark on yet another “vetting,” for a job opportunity…this one involves a background check and hair drug screen…I found a 3 X 5 sticky note, okay the correct term is Post-it note…in the front pocket. It dates to 2000. I know this because the date appears on the note at least once. The problem is, I can’t remember writing any of the scribbles on this note. It doesn’t sound at all like me, or my schedule or anything else.
I know it has to be mine. It’s in my handwriting. It has my name and a password on the bottom half of one side. The password is not in my handwriting, and I have no idea what the password 35c3b4wd goes to, but it sounds like a software key maybe. Some of the things are crossed off like they’ve been completed tasks. Here’s an example: “Bosto 9.30 RSV , 3564552011, King NS Park Newberry,Trans Logan, workout fac.” I think I get this one a little now. I’ve been on the phone, making a reservation for Boston on September 30 for a King bed in a non-smoking room. When I’m on the phone I write conversations down in what is known as speed writing. It’s a form of shorthand that I learned when I was a service representative for Mountain Bell. We were required to “shorthand,” using this speed writing technique, both sides of the conversation on a “contact sheet.” All very barbaric in today’s technology, but the customer would call and say, “I have a call on my bill that I don’t recognize.” I would write down, “Call CNK.” Translated it means the customer is “Claiming No Knowledge” of a call on their bill. We could go back to any call on a contact sheet and read the code to know what was being done. If we didn’t complete the task during the call, say, we had to get additional information, the contact sheet would be put in pending shelf in a five-tier desk tray. I know, too much information, but it’s why I still make speed writing notes when I’m talking on the phone making a reservation for example. But I’ve never been to Boston, if “Bosto” stands for that on the sticky note.
The note on the top half of the sticky note on the side with the software password, says “Tanner, 100,000 prem flier, Bus C, Chicago – NY, Fri no later 6:30, No Fat meal, Cancer July 22nd contractual, disallowance 84.10.” (The commas denote a new line in the message.) This one makes no sense. It’s in my handwriting, but I certainly wouldn’t take a bus from Chicago to New York on a friday evening, and eating a no fat meal, cancer or otherwise wouldn’t be my choice. It’s obviously missing a lot factual information in the speed writing.
Now, maybe, I could have looked at these notes twelve years ago and made some sense out of them. What concerns me is that I saved this sticky note which has a lot of unrelated, it seems, information on it. Maybe I saved it because of the password, but I think it just got stuck to the inside front pocket of the briefcase all these years and went unnoticed. It was a “sticky” note after all. Right underneath that previous note is this: “Wed noon – Thurs 10A, 12:30 pres. 1 hr b4 (obvious speed writing for “before”), an arrow (I draw a lot of arrows in my notes.) Naperville – 68, brakes WP Timing Belt.”
I must have been short on sticky notes, at least the 3 X 5 size, because this one is pretty much completely filled up. Check this one out: “Fall Cat, BB Bear, 250, GT Well, 100, Rainbow, cancel, Growling.” What the hell kind of code is that? It’s in my handwriting.
This is the best. On one side, in the top half, is written: “Ima Confused.” Now that’s funny, because I seriously am. Right under that is: “Chic-Wash, Nov 12, Leave noon, avail early AM, another arrow pointing to Reagan, BWI another arrow pointing away to an equal sign.”
Honestly, I can write things down, look at them 15 minutes later, and not have any idea what it means, so it’s not so amazing that I can’t understand any of these cryptic notes on a 3 X 5 sticky note from twelve years ago, but I’ve never had the opportunity to look at a 3 X 5 sticky note from twelve years ago and I find it disconcerting. Like part of my life has disappeared from memory. When was I in Boston, taking a train from Chicago, what does Naperville have to with a 68 something that needs brakes, WP and a timing belt, why do I need 100,000 premium fliers, and whose is Reagan and what does BWI stand for?
I’m going to throw away this 3 X 5 sticky now because it hardly seems like there is anything on there that I need. Maybe I better shred it. What if it could be used as evidence against me for something I did in this “other” life I know nothing about? What if I have multiple personalities, like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde? If I knew what the password was for, maybe I would keep it for that, but I don’t. In the corner in small print is the phrase “hammer toe.” What the hell could that mean? Sounds like a rogue agent, don’t you think? Okay, that’s enough. WTF.
I think I could use an “Enigma” machine. I wonder if they still have one of those available.