Two years ago, a colleague of mine was retired for about six months when he wrote me a nice e-mail update on his doings (Hi, S). He talked about mid-afternoon bike rides, hikes in state parks, and his new view of weekends vs. weekdays. The latter was most interesting to him. It is still his stated conviction that there is no longer any difference between any day of the week. Weekends, he feels, are only important to working folk.
I am not quite ready to accept his premise about weekends vs. weekdays. I am only too aware that grocery shopping is best done on weekday mornings, medical appointments are less stressful before 2:00pm, and car repair is more convenient in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Still, I do admit that he’s onto something about the relative merits of days blending into one another.
I have always been a very organized person. Except for an especially crack administrative staff handling HR and procurement at our HQ, I never had the services of a personal secretary. For my entire career I kept my own calendar. Appointments, meetings, conference calls, etc., all were dutifully notated on the “To-Do” ledger that sat on my desk. As networking software such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes began to automate and manage schedules, I took full advantage of their functionality. My desktop computer was always making silly sounds with windows popping-up to remind me of something I had to do immediately, in 30 minutes, or the next day.
I am no longer waking up early with pre-work responsibilities. I wake up when my body decides it wants to be vertical and not one minute sooner. But I still know the difference between a weekend and weekday if for no other reason that Gorgeous is conscious of the opportunities to speak to her daughter, mainly on weekends. However, twice now since my new life started, I have been confused about what day it is.
This past weekend Gorgeous had a new client scheduled for a reading. New clients make her nervous. Perfectionist that she is, she needs to meditate for at least an hour prior to speaking to any new client. She asks to be sent as many pictures of people in that person’s life as possible so that she can study each one to discuss them during the call. This particular reading was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
On Friday afternoon, she complained that she had not yet received any pictures from this client, and she was beginning to get anxious. Unfortunately, I was not aware that it was actually Friday. I thought it was Saturday. I blame the Thanksgiving holiday for screwing me up. Nonetheless I was confused, and I proceeded to make Gorgeous even more anxious and full of worry. We sat there for at least two minutes arguing whether it was Friday or Saturday. Woody Allen could not have created a more ridiculous scene. As I often am in a conflict, I was completely convinced of the conviction of my words. It was Saturday… until it suddenly was not.
“When was Thanksgiving? When did we eat turkey?,” Gorgeous asked. Of course, the answer to that question was “yesterday.”
For a full beat I sat there looking at her, my brain slowly processing the punch-card files containing all the information needed in my life. As I sat there staring at her, two things began to become come completely into focus: (1) It was Friday, and (2) I had suddenly morphed into my father.
Growing up, my dad always struggled in the immediacy of any moment with certain details. It is family lore how when addressing a child of his, he would run thorough every member of the family until finally getting to the correct one. In my case, his only son, I would often be greeted as his brother Bob. He also struggled with names of TV shows, movies, stores, and, yes, days of the week.
I’m too young to become Walter Matthau in his “Sunshine Boys” persona, so I do hope that this senior-moment anecdote is only that — a brief moment in time. Still, I will be watching for more of these slip-ups.
Perhaps President Bush needs to have this covered in the new national health care law?