Monday, 15 March 2010

Found - Lists

Yes, I love words, but sometimes the gaps around the words belie a tale in themselves.  Take a list for example.  Whether it's a 'to do' or a shopping list, this string of words is perfunctory to the writer and yet is open to a myriad of interpretations to the incidental reader.

Perhaps it is verging on the voyeuristic, but I find a ridiculous amount of pleasure in stumbling across other people's shopping lists.  They are usually to be found in the bottom of supermarket trollies or baskets.  Spent, exhausted and discarded and yet, to me, they open a door to characters, endless scenarios and a tiny snapshot into the mind of the list's author.

Imagine my delight therefore at coming upon such a list in the most unlikely of places.  I was happy picking my way through chattering nannies and scampering dogs in a local park, when my eyes suddenly prickled with interest at the sight of a folded piece of paper, with a bold title.  Shopping List.  What luck!  Written in a childlike script, I unfolded the paper expecting to see a list of sweets, comics or, more likely these days, DVDs and mobile phone credits. Yet the contents hinted at a more adult, and likely female, origin (note - I've not corrected the spelling):

salt & vinegar Mcoys x 2
passion fruit rubicon x 2
cream cheese
smoked salmon
cranberry special k bars
hair dye brown x 2 (uses)
crushed green velvet

Was this the story of a woman enjoying a moment of luxury and preparation before a date?  Was the smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich to be savoured whilst she covered her grey and sewed a beautiful dress in the velvet fabric?  I hope she remembers to wipe her hands.  Were the crisps and bottles of pop to keep two children entertained whilst she goes about her sewing?  Or is this the rather sorry tale of a woman going for calorie broke before a new regime that involves evil diet foods (even though they typically contain more salt, chemicals and hidden nasties than a couple of pieces of fruit)?
And the hair dye.  Is the author to buy two packs or a product with which one gets two bites of the cherry?

Without her list, will she remember every last item?  Oh I can just envisage the agony that ensues as she arrives at the shops, patting her pocket for the list.  Scrabbling in every nook of her bag only to find it's vanished.  Inevitably one item will be forgotten.  I just hope it wasn't the hair dye.  It seems to hold the key to a new found confidence.  A renewed sense of self.  x2 (uses).

1 comment:

  1. Did you find my lost Christmas list 3 years ago? Check out Sarah x