The desk in my home office is covered in paper, great big sheets of it. Do you remember the stuff? Smooth, off-white and creased where it had to be folded to get in my bag. Somewhere there is also a yellow notebook, half filled with my scribbles.
The flip chart sheets are covered in writing and it is my job to try and decipher this and translate it to an electronic format. These and the notes in my book are the outputs from the CyberNorth meetup we had at Newcastle University a week or so ago. I foolishly volunteered to capture what was said.
This is a job that I should never have taken on. Other people’s writing is bad enough but mine is impossible. It’s cryptography though unintentional. I am sitting here, scratching my head and trying to make sense of it all. I can remember people’s faces and where they were sitting but their names and their invaluable thoughts are lost to me. Well, not quite lost as I know where they are. Perhaps indecipherable is a better way of putting it.
How I wish I had tried harder at school. How I envy those who can write fluidly and beautifully in a way that can be read as intended. It is a skill that I have singularly failed to master. I have seen better from a six year old.
What is to be done? I can’t go back and say that I tried but failed. People are waiting for my work. I haven’t got anyone to hand it over to either and so I guess the only option is to slog my way through it, sleuth it out. Each untangled word becomes a breakthrough, an entry to the thought, a portal to the inner workings of someone’s mind. Each sentence is a sentence in itself, something to be endured, the price to pay for illegibility.
It’s a job I keep putting off, partly in the hope that somehow the words will unscramble by themselves and all will become clear but in the main because it is simply too hard.
Next time, I won’t be so keen to volunteer.