12:45 p.m. - Friday, Jan. 11, 2008
I'm transcribing the old diary I bought off eBay because that helps me to read it. I find myself fascinated by its writer, Olive Gaither. When I first got the diary, just glancing through and reading random entries, I thought the writer must be a woman in her 30s or 40s — with kids, because she mentions "the kids," but perhaps widowed because she never mentions a husband. I assumed that age because of the dispassionate style of the entries, which are drab recitations of skeletal outlines of events. Typical entry: "Was going to go to Smyrna in P.M., but didn't go."
Now closer examination of internal evidence has taught me that Olive received this 5-year diary for a high-school graduation present in 1933, at the age of 17. She made only occasional entries during 1933 and 1934, which is why I was fooled into thinking the diary began in 1935. So I'm transcribing 1935 now. Olive is 19. She's the most utterly emotionless 19-year-old I've ever encountered in my life. I'm reading on, eager to discover if she's ever going to display any overt emotion. She recites events that sound as if they might have been a lot of fun (ex.: "Went swimming at Blue Pond. Hid Jack's hat.") but she never, ever, ever comes right out and says that something WAS fun. She never says she's sad, happy, worried, tired. Sometimes she'll go so far as to say something like, "Beautiful day," which hints at happiness. In one entry, she wrote "Dickens!" — I couldn't tell what she was referring to, but that does seem to reveal some kind of emotion.
Anyway, I have four more years, plus going back to the few entries from 1933 and 1934, to see if Olive turns out to be something other than a prototype robot.