My name is… and I am… a note dropper.
I know, it’s shocking, but for three years I have been dropping notes wherever I get the opportunity. It has become somewhat of an addiction.
My first note was placed after a particularly bad day at school. I had spent the day as I often did; not having half the resources the rest of the class did with the same exams approaching. My Mum would pick me up in the car park of a small supermarket across the road from the school after an hour or so of doing homework in the library at the end of the day. By this time however I had quite often had enough of school so would walk around the supermarket instead.
I would weave in and out of the aisles playing games. Counting chocolate bars, seeing which books had the fewest copies left, working out the price of items in the ‘20% off’ bucket. It all sounds very dull, but I was quite happy and sometimes I still resort to such tactics to let my mind drift away. However then I reached the magazine aisle. I looked at all the copies of the magazines and began to count. I was halfway through a rack when I reached into my bag and pulled out my orange school-issued rough book.
‘I hope you are having a good day and that you enjoy this magazine. Love. X’ It was something along these lines that I scribbled, I remember it well. Thoughts flashed through my mind: ‘is it illegal to leave notes to strangers?’, ‘will the shop security get me?’, ‘is there even a name for the opposite of shop lifting?’. So I took a deep breath and put the note into one of the magazines, half way up the spine and half way through because it was here that I hoped it would stick. Then I shuffled out of the shop and didn’t look back.
I felt better. I had, hopefully, given someone something to smile about. This is when my addiction truly began. I would leave notes anywhere in public; With left over coffee cups in cafés, on train seats just as I stood to leave the carriage, in library books and on park benches. I got progressively more daring from my first tentative slip of paper and developed multiple pen names and pseudonyms. Sometimes I would write quotes from songs, other notes included my own words of hope to the stranger and on particularly bad days I would just pour my heart out onto the page.
The length of the notes would vary, from one line to a double sided page. Roughly a year on from my first note I saw somebody posting about one of the letters I had written on social media, saying it had made their day. So my addiction grew and my note-writing confidence peaked. Then I went to a college for blind people. This caused infinite problems. There were no lockers I could slip well wishes into and there were infinite needs for making written material legible within the student body. But I tried.
My first note at college had me terrified. I left it on the reception desk in the learning centre, which is often maned by students. It was in a decorated envelope and included the full note in large print and in braille. It had taken me ages. I dropped the note and then ran up the stairs to my lectures. It took several goes. I kept finding the letter unopened but moved. I repositioned it several times until it was finally opened. For the first time in my note writing history (and by complete coincidence) I witnessed one of my letters being read. The student read it silently on one of the brightly coloured chairs around the desk, he then paused and smiled for a moment before returning it to the envelope and placing it back on the desk. I noticed the letter was still there when I passed several days later but then it seemingly disappeared during the holidays.
I’ve gone on to do similar things at college. Post-it notes under mirrors reassuring people they look lovely etc. But this is me coming out of the shadows. My name is… and I am a note writer. I try to do good, one note at a time. And this is one big note to you, have a lovely day.