I like to think I invented “The Jotter”, a little notebook I take to my social engagements with a list of items we should discuss over dinner. I started doing that because often I would come away from a 4 hour meal at Dimitris thinking I had forgotten to ask so and so about her daughter, or her sciatica, or her fantasies. So now in preparation for my dates, I update The Jotter. Consistent topics include Children, Husbands, Books, Movies. Here is a sample of an expired jotter from a year or two ago. You can see traces of the meal smeared across the surface.
The term “Jotter” was the result of one of those nasty Scrabble games I had with my room-mate at the camp. Although I had never really heard the word jotter before, when I got the appropriate letters, I feigned self-confidence and laid those Scrabble tiles on the board. After all, the J is worth 8 points, and if you can get it on a triple letter score, you might have a chance of beating the brilliant strategist across the table. My room-mate, aka Brilliant Strategist, snarled at me. “Jotter. I don’t think so. What’s a jotter?” I snarled right back with false bravado. “One who jots.” Tom would not let it rest. He challenged. I surreptitiously held my breath as he consulted the Scrabble dictionary. Fortunately it was there!! I got the points and the upper hand …for a moment.
According to the above definition, "a memorandum book", I guess I did not invent the jotter idea, but I am going to take credit for putting it into practice. Many of my social circles have come to expect The Jotter at our outings. They might even contact me beforehand with a request to put a certain topic on The Jotter.
Most of my social circles consist of groups of four. In a group of four lies the danger of two conversations emerging simultaneously. I HATE that because one of my ears is always straining to hear what the other two are talking about. I don’t want to miss anything!!
Social Group of Four
The Jotter helps alleviate that "missing out" problem to an extent. If I catch a word of the other conversation, I can jot that down then get back to it when my one-on-one conversation is over. That way I have not been TOTALLY rude to my conversation partner by only listening with one ear, and I have a reasonable chance of retracing the other conversation.
Common Ear Strain
The Jotter also helps with brain hyperlinking. You know when you are in a conversation and someone says, “I have great hope for Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister”, and you want to blurt out, “What kind of shampoo do you use, Paula?” but you know it’s rude to interrupt. The hyperlinking goes like this: Justin Trudeau; nice hair; Paula’s hair looks nice tonight; I wonder what kind of shampoo she uses? With a jotter at your elbow, you simply jot down the word shampoo so you will remember to ask Paula that important question. You don’t need to interrupt and you do not need to expose your circuitous brain functioning to your friends.
The Circuitous Brain
Hot Tub Jotter
With a bit of ingenuity, the jotter can be adapted to suit various environments. A few years ago, I had a hot tub party in our backyard in December. There was wine, bubbling hot water and snow falling….absolutely too much liquid for a paper Jotter. Solution? I wrote the jotter items on large graph paper with heavy marker and duct-taped it to the side of the garage.
I’ve had various versions of The Jotter over the years. I was being all 21st Century and keeping jotter items on my cellphone for a while. Because I’ve had 3 major cellphone mishaps in the last 3 months, I no longer trust that format. I'm back to paper.
Back in the day when I was working for a living, I created The Environmental Jotter, a bunch of scrap paper cut and stapled together in one corner. Very rough but a respectable effort at recycling.
The Environmental Jotter
I do buy the occasional jotter, if it’s a bargain. My Nancy Drew Jotter is probably my favourite, and coveted by many. I found Nancy at a dollar store in Quispamsis for only 50 cents. What a jewel. Jot on!!
The Nancy Drew Jotter
Until Next Time......