Scribble me ree


This week I am working in Posh Glossy. When pages go for approval, they come back with lots of different scrawls on them from the different editors; scrawl that you have to decipher and act upon. Uh huh. Yes, boss. All that stuff they say about computers making people’s writing worse? Fo sho.

I’m not mocking – why, only yesterday I was stung by a flatmate’s comment that my cursive jottings made him give up in despair. The household communicates a lot by note, not because we’re in a state of icy warfare, it’s just we’re all out a lot and it’s easier to scribble on the back of a Lidl receipt and leave it under the salt cellar. Although on reflection, ‘easier’ might not be the right word.

Said notes aren’t usually very long, obv, which is just as well because it’s more deciphering than reading. It takes patience. Patience and trust that you just have to trundle along until you unpick a key word, and then presto! It’s your Rosetta stone! And suddenly the whole thing becomes clear. Thus: ‘I’m conting toning, imyont farey rat durkin?’ takes a bit of deciphering. ‘Hmm. Durkin? Clurken? Clickin? Chicken! It’s chicken! Rat durkin = roast chicken! It’s asking if we fancy roast chicken because she’s cooking tonight! Hurrah!’

That’s all very well if it’s something minor like dinner, but the note I left yesterday was to warn that I’d spilled water in the bathroom which had soaked down through to the kitchen light fittings and I thought they might be shorting (‘Shirtig? Shorken? Is it chicken again?’). Happy ending: The flatties abandoned both note and accompanying lightbulb until further clarification could be sought but we’re still too scared to put the bulb back in.

Anyway. I was walking back through Clapham Junction yesterday and saw that the hoardings covering Debenhams ex-windows have been covered in riot-related notes from the public. I stopped to have a read of the missives that pretty uniformly covered the ROBBING SCUMBAGS DIE – GIV KIDZ JOBZ spectrum (‘Clapham 4 Eva!’ ‘Fight a real war scum’ etc).

All apart, that is, from one outlier: Ben. I like the cut of Ben’s jib. His plea – in incredibly neat handwriting – was as heartfelt in its way as the WE GOTTA LUV EACH UVVA/BRING BACK HANGING cacophony scrawled around it. And it made me hoot. ‘Debenhams, when you reopen can you stock white ties? Been looking for one for ages. Ben’.

Godspeed, dapper friend, godspeed.


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