It could be today

Day 33: smidgins of joy

Smidgins of joy hidden on blank pages.
There is a little story at the end, by the way.

I purchased a hardcover, A5 notebook with blank pages in it yesterday. I know what you’re thinking. It is for scribbling things in, but not the kind of things you think. It is my motivation to centralise my mammoth collection of computer passwords.

I used to keep them handwritten in the back of my paper diary. That was once effective. Now, I have the ripped out pages from 2013 to 2016 inclusive bunged in the back of a 2017 diary, and another little book that is falling apart. All with passwords. Hopeless, since as the years roll by, I cannot remember when I first registered for any particular site, or which e-mail address I used. It is the paper equivalent of an entropic wardrobe.

A younger me laughing at the disordered woman she would become.

I do not delight in disorder, no. It just happens. For instance, I had to check in a computer folder of personal writings what names I had assigned a couple of characters in a dusty bit of fiction started ages ago. I found that no problem. I was delighted, however, to find something else.

I found the digital equivalent of a bit of scribbling. I could not remember when I had written it, and was thrown off by the fact that it was in a font that I had purchased online last October for a presentation I gave on marking your digital territory.

So, I went into the document Properties in Word, and discovered that that document was dated 27 January 2019. To my horror, the Properties said that the “manager” of the document was someone with a male Portuguese name, with my name underneath, as “Edited by” or some such.

The name looked familiar. But the writing looked like mine, although I can see I was trying something new. The date stamp told me that it could not have been the short stories I translate for a European short story competition. The strange name, however, had me worried.

So I searched all documents for that particular name. Forensic bingo! It was the name of one of the people who had created lots and lots of documents for a translation assignment I did in December 2018 and January 2019, but with whom I had had no personal contact. That was a relief. I also performed a second check, by looking at all the names of authors over the last few years in the short story competition folder. No matches there. Good.

I now wanted to get rid of this man’s name on my document, saved on my computer. Here is how you do it: File –> Info –> Check for Issues (drop down menu) –> Inspect Document –> Dialogue Box – select what you want to inspect, including the “Document Properties and Personal Information” to remove the names of the people attached to the document. then click Inspect, as shown in the screenshot below.

Document Properties and Personal Information automatically removes properties and personal information when the file is saved. You can allow personal information to be saved in your file later, but it will only save your information, and not the information of the person who sent you the file.

Now that I had cleaned up my digital territory, I realised that there must be stacks of documents on my hard drive that need similar attention. I also realised what must have happened, for my little description to have the name of a stranger on it. I had checked all the documents exported from my CAT tool in Word before sending them (as they were received) back to the client in batches of ten documents each.

I must have “had an idea”, and so instead of opening a new document in Word, I merely hit File –> Save As (because it is quicker). Having saved my document in the correct folder (i.e. not the client’s folder), I merely deleted everything in the file, and started writing. Save –> Close –> Go To Bed. Quite irresponsible, don’t you think? I am sure the manager in some big office in Lisbon does not want his name attached to this:

It could be today
It could be today, or any other day. It was gusty. When it wasn’t gusty, the wind howled. She put on her woollen cap to protect her ears, and remembered how it was not always so. She remembered her bare feet, and hands with no gloves, and digging, digging for hours.

But that was then, and far away, and this is now. And here, right here. Time for the planting of beans. But first, time to finish a new vegetable bed. Economy of movement counts, these days. All energy must result in a productive action, for if not, she will be tired before the day is out, and before the chores are done, and if that happens every day, she will turn into an untidy crazy person.

Control in countless small things – and not, as everyone thought, in the magnanimous gesture, the grand action. Control in small things counts. This is how to go the distance, yes, step by step. One slow, but sure, step after the other.

Yes, yes, speed does have its advantages, but now, no. Not here, not in the garden. For here, no one really knows except her what is next, and who is to say whether everything has been done, or too much, or nothing for weeks? Besides, it is a quiet day. The patch of sun on her bed beckons. She heeds its call, and listens to the wind howl, and blow all the rainclouds away again.

©2019 Allison Wright

Now all I have to do is transcribe hundreds of passwords into a hardcover book with 240 blank pages, each one containing, no doubt, their own smidgin of joy.

©2019 Allison Wright

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