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The writing’s on the hand

March 9th, 2004 · No Comments

Yesterday we had an incident in our neighborhood involving a suspicious-looking vehicle so we called the police.

When the cop car arrived, stopping in front of our house, I asked the officer, “Do you know the license plate?”

He took his left hand off the wheel. It was a big hand, dark and hairy. On his pale palm he had written with black ink the numbers of the plate, so large I could almost read it. He looked at his hand as I recited what I remembered.

Seeing the pen on his palm reminded me of days when I wrote on my own hand. It has been a while. I stopped scribbling to myself when Ted and I started dating. I used to jot down all kinds of notes, mnemonics and reminders, putting pen to palm.

But when I began dating Ted, my life changed in little ways. I stopped using my self as a notebook. Ted wasn’t too keen on it either. I guess he wanted to hold my hand, not a piece of graffiti. He didn’t want to be dating a walking date book. He somehow thought my hand looked better without black ink scribbled all over it. So I stopped.

Seeing the cop yesterday with numbers and letters on his hand almost made me laugh. In this day in age, I would think that the police would have more sophisticated ways of remembering information. I suppose it is convenient and economical to use the palm for data storage.

When I was outside, seeing the suspicious vehicle, I had both my cell phone and my camera with me in my pocket, yet neither one helped me. I tried my phone but the battery had died. And I completely forgot about my camera despite the weight in my pocket. I had simply stared hard at the plate when the vehicle went past me, burning the numbers into my mind with a mnemonic.

Funny to think that in this technological age, with all kinds of gadgets and whistles available, fighting crime comes down to using eyes and hands.

Tags: journal