Tucked away safely in a folder labeled “Write” on my phone is the most sacred of all apps: Notes. This is an underrated app. The most common iPhone applications such as Messages or Calculator do not compare to its power and potential. Yes, many are familiar with Notes app territory. Mountains of folders with cryptic titles nestled in folders with even more cryptic titles. Endless fields of blank pages strewn with to-do lists, half-baked poetry, and lists of seemingly arbitrary items. Need to write a grocery list? Notes app. Need to tag the lyrics to that catchy song? Notes app. Need to excise the thoughts of the shower that have polluted your mind? Notes app. Taylor Swift is known for starting most of her songs in the Notes app. Instagram apologies from disgraced reality TV stars also mark their Notes app debut. It’s a land of endless possibilities with no word limits or loading wheels. In a flash of inspiration or in the heat of battle, it is dependable and assured. It’s a world at your fingertips, with the swipe of a finger.
The little yellow and black striped box on my phone holds no less than my brain if my thoughts were written in Arial font. Browsing through my vast archive of notes at random, a few titles stood out to me. “Bread,” for example, tagged a poem I wrote in a midnight fever. Needless to say, the note was steeped in melodrama and angst. “Dodgy things Mr. Goldsberry says” denoted every off-color comment my second-grade health teacher made. Mr. Goldsberry, a year from retirement and full of stories from his teaching experience, must have compiled a very detailed list. Another of my favorite notes is titled “What people say I may need to bring up in court” with winning additions like “If you take out the security cameras, it’s your word against the dead man’s” and “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this is a great place to trigger a mass panic. On and on my Notes app goes. Disparate Latin phrases I wrote to sound awesome mingle with reminders of things I’ve forgotten and long prose about fall afternoons Story ideas and character descriptions are mixed in with screenshots of every text my best friend sends to me to confess her crushes (just in case I need them at the wedding) The Notes app contains my precious memories alongside forgotten ulterior motives and my unfiltered imaginations alongside random notes.
What I’ve learned from my appreciation of this unassuming app is that the Notes app is a reflection of humanity. It’s complex because humans are complex. It’s a place to rest my anxious thoughts, house my deepest goals, and confide my weary thoughts. It’s a collection of life’s fragmented moments, captured like fireflies in mason jars. The brief reminder, running list or fleeting thought are forever kept on a white screen to come back to again. There are also no limits to my expression in the Notes app. I can be a free, random and complex person with free, random and complex thoughts. There is beauty in this desert. I’ve come to love the Notes app, not just for its simplicity, but also for what it stands for. The Notes app is a beacon of exploration and a record of my mind. I cherish it, just as I cherish the untamed parts of the human being.