A cool man with slicked back hair, thick rimmed glasses, and a finely kept goatee was on the bus when he reached into his bag and took out a notebook. He wrote something in it. Then he stared out of the window, watching the world roll past. He might have written something else, I didn’t notice. Because I was too busy thinking:
Yes mate! You’re having ideas! You’re having a discussion with yourself about what to note down! What a rich inner life you have! You’re awesome!
I was sitting behind him, by the way.
What a great feeling, seeing evidence that another person thinks, and deems their thought write-downable. It’s not that I don’t think other people think at all. I do think they think unthinkingly, though. I think.
When I see another person with a notebook and pen, or a notetaking app open on their phone, I am struck with admiration. I am reminded that we all have our own inner lives, and we’re constantly in dialogue with ourselves. It’s a real sign of belief in yourself, that your thoughts are worthy of writing down.
Pen and paper note taking in particular gets me going. So much in our world today is stored in The Cloud, wherever that is. Putting a thought to paper is a real act of commitment in a world of Twitter Streams and Blog Rolls and Facebook Algorithms. It’s saying, this will stay in this one place for ever. It’s making a mark. It’s a fundamentally human thing to do.
This post has turned out to be a bit less goofy than my other ones, but there we go. Sometimes seeing people being people makes me feel like not being glib.
Overall I highly recommend watching someone else take a note. Admire them. Nod at them. Touch their leg softly, to reassure them that their thoughts are worthwhile.