Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 1.24.18

Why the iPhone Reminders app has a stranglehold on my life.


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I’m addicted to sticky notes. In other words, I’m scared of forgetting. 

I was never the type to write notes on the back of my hand. I care far too much about my manual cleanliness. I wash my hands too often for a “Submit cover letter!” reminder to stick around for more than a few hours. 

I keep three written to–do lists, all scrawled in moleskins I stress–Bursared from the Penn bookstore. I have 47 iPhone notes that I’m currently workshopping. I have 90 iPhone Reminders entered into my phone at any point in time. I’ve had very personal notes–to–self pop up when professors are reading over my shoulder. “Do a face mask!” due yesterday at 9 p.m. “Cancel Showtime subscription!” due today at 3 p.m. “Call SHS back!” due today. “Blood stain on white turtleneck!!” due in ten minutes. “Add Python to Resume” due today. SNOOZE. 

I spend at least 30 minutes a day swatting these reminders off of my home screen. I had to quit using the Apple “Stickies” app. It clogged my computer with far more digital Post–Its than I could manage. And sticky notes? They’re my favorite DIY wallpaper.

So why I am I sharing this? Not sure. I feel like it’s very telling about who I am. Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s his severe unmedicated anxiety.

This school is damn stressful and may very well contribute to my obsession with push notifications. But my obsession with reminders might be something much more Freudian and twisted. I’m scared to death of forgetting things, and hammer to–dos so far into my brain I get headaches. I’m so scared of losing memories, and write down all of my favorite places, events, and people. I’ve outsourced my own memory into lined pages and iPhone apps.

This isn’t some fake–deep, tired Black Mirror hot take. My phone does tell me everything, and I let it. I guess after all of this rambling there are some key takeaways. Figure out what helps you cope and function. Embrace your tics, as long as you give your mind some space to breathe. And if you’re feeling stressed, buy some leather–bound notebooks with your PennCard.


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