Have you noticed?

I RUN my life from a notebook - lists of letters to write, calls to make, consultations to respond to and documents to read. Email has been a huge blessing - no time wasted on small talk or leaving phone messages that are never returned - one press of a key and another item is ticked off.

Every few days when the current list is an intricate palimpsest of ticks, queries, follow-on tasks and new commitments, I turn to a fresh page. My naturally sunny, optimistic nature always tells me the old list is almost clear. So it is, but there seems to be an immutable law of nature that any new list will still consist of 17 items.

Among my current carry-forwards is an item that just says "Sharon" and a phone number. Was this a childminding request, school business, governors'

association or autistic society? Someone trying to sell me something? My husband's mistress? Who is Sharon? What is she?

If you're out there, Sharon, sorry I have not phoned. It is not just that I do not know who you are, in this context I do not even know who I am. Please call again.

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