I’ll See If I Can Fit You In


Recently I came across some pocket calendars that I used in the 1990’s.  It was amazing to look at my life at a glance with doctor appointments, lunch dates, sporting events, and work meetings.  There are names of people who I can no longer recall, but with whom I apparently met for lunch on several occasions; meetings about work projects with acronyms, the meanings of which are now lost to me; and names of Washington, DC restaurants and bars, many I recall were favorites of mine at the time.  A restaurant called “Noun” repeatedly gets mentioned for lunch, yet a Google search finds nary a mention of its former existence.  Page after page shows that I was a very busy, busy boy at that time.

I do recollect packing these calendars into a box when I changed jobs shortly before moving to California in the early 2000’s.  I remember thinking at the time that someday it might be interesting to pore over them in nostalgic reflection.  How prescient of me!   And so it has been.

Modern technology has pretty much made pocket calendars such as these obsolete. Although they might still be available for free at the Hallmark store as a quaint throwback, busy working-types and probably the majority of the younger set use their smartphone or tablet to keep track of appointments, birthdays, etc..  Earlier this year, American Express tried to charge me $30 for a fancy, faux-leather calendar.  I was able to get the charge removed, and they then allowed me to keep the calendar for all the trouble.  Gorgeous now happily uses it… except when she forgets.  More on that in a moment, though.

I was always somewhat obsessive about schedules and appointments.  A college girlfriend once complained that she felt she was merely a single entry on my daily agenda rather than an actual human priority.  Another friend told me that she became instantly agitated before any lunch date we had because she knew I hated waiting.  She was the type who struggled daily at being punctual.  This rigidity is probably born from my own fear of being late and having to walk into a classroom or gathering with everyone potentially looking at me.  I no doubt was over-compensating to shore up my own feelings of inadequacy.  How charming of me that in later years I was able to morph those feelings into making others feel ill-at-ease.

During  my working years, I was always frenzied about making sure that I got to work on time each morning.  The evening before I would put out my clothes, and I would always wake up at least two hours before I actually had to leave home.  My “helmet” of hair with its industrial-strength gel took far longer to prepare than the showering and shaving, and I almost always got to work at least 30-40 minutes early.

When office automation software such as Outlook and Lotus Notes were introduced, I quickly fell in love with their calendar functions.  This is probably why I don’t seem to have a pocket calendar past 1998.  I loved being able to enter repeating events, blocking out entire hours or days, and also using those trusty alarms to pop-up on my screen that reminded me of another dreaded meeting or conference call.

When I bought my first smartphone, I started entering all of my appointments in the same manner and continue to do so now.  Our home has a big kitten calendar in the kitchen, and it (sometimes) gets used as a backup or for a quick glance as we have our morning coffee.

Lately my wife and I have endured quite a run of medical exams as we continue to get situated in our new town.  With only one car, we have to be careful to coordinate our schedules so that there are no conflicts.  Twice now Gorgeous has gotten confused about appointments, and she arrives only to discover that she’s either a day early or at the wrong doctor.  About a month ago, this happened with a dental appointment.  That one was slightly tragic since that particular office is over an hour’s drive from our town.   You might say there was a bit of silence on the way home for a brief period that day.

Today she showed up at the ophthalmologist when in fact her appointment was at the gastroenterologist instead.  You can only imagine the intestinal discomfort she felt as we raced across town to get her to that particular appointment on time.

A few months ago I told Gorgeous’ daughter that we would collectively need divine intervention for when her mother started to use her first, very own smartphone (Hi, A.). Tonight we will begin our first lesson in calendar event creation on that phone.  I’ll teach her about setting up audio alerts, and then cross-checking them with the big kitten calendar in the kitchen.  Redundancy is our new retirement friend.

Gorgeous felt very bad with the appointment mix-up earlier today, and for that I can’t blame her at all.  It was an inauspicious start to the morning.  I know my role, though: I needed to get her back to a better place.  To cheer her when she finished with the doctor and came back into the waiting room, I serenaded her with my very best (and quite loud) Neil Sedaka rendition of “I love, I love, I love my little calendar girl!” As we walked out, the receptionist and an older couple sitting looked up from their magazines. Gorgeous rolled her eyes in embarrassment and walked quickly three steps ahead of me to achieve at least the appearance of not knowing this loving harasser.  At that moment I knew the day’s drama was over.

I’ll meet you for coffee later.  Don’t be late.

Two pages from one of my calendars.  I emailed this picture to the "Gail" mentioned for lunch and a party.  She laughs and said it was her last week at that job, and we must have been celebrating.
Two pages from one of my calendars. I emailed this picture to the Gail mentioned for a lunch date and a party. She enjoyed seeing it and remembers that it was her last week at that job, and these must have been goodbye celebrations.

17 thoughts on “I’ll See If I Can Fit You In

  1. OMG! You are just like me (or am I like you!) I was a time Nazi when I worked. I hated late people and once told our CEO that his late appearance (he was always a good 5 to 10 minutes late) was causing a happy hour atmosphere before the staff meetings (discussion of last night’s game or dinner or whatever). Fortunately he liked me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Did it change his habit at all?

      I actually had a paragraph about doctors, and how some of them chronically make you wait for an or more. But it seemed slightly off-topic, and perhaps worthy of its own posting someday. Still, they are #1 on my list. It’s personally offensive when someone is repeatedly late in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So, I’m wondering how the smartphone lessons are going? Because I’m thinking, that if the attention to time detail flows onto to other aspects of life and knowing, that male/female brains are wired differently, Dear Gorgeous may need rescuing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I still have a paper day planner sitting on my desk. It is my scheduling bible. Sometimes when I’m out I will use my smartphone to remember a date…. it is synced to my desktop computer and tablet which all send me reminders. But I still write that date in my day planner. Although my whole life runs online from shopping to banking… I can’t see myself giving up the day planner. Besides, every November or December I enjoy going to the office supply store to buy the refill (which gives me the excuse to browse and look at all kinds of wonderful things I don’t need). I could not give up that ritual! And people who are consistently late… don’t get me started!


      1. Yes, the one I go to is a one-off, they even had their own unique building constructed… the place is a jumble of all kinds of strange things in dusty corners… I never thought they would survive but the major chains come and go and they stay in business. I think they have a following…


  4. Snakes: As much as you dig calendars I can do without them. I often forget to turn over the month on the calendar hanging on our kitchen wall. I once went from August to November and even my wife didn’t notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Even though I have a smartphone dedicated solely to my work endeavours, I still rely on the trusty old pocket calendar and take one with me everywhere. I see so many clients and work in such varied places that if I don’t write down my schedule for the coming month I would be hideously lost and confused.

    Like yourself, I was (and still am) a complete time-Nazi and absolutely detest being made to wait because someone hasn’t turned up on time. I often get to work at least 30 minutes early and find this preferable to running late due to traffic or something else outside of my control.

    And I also still have most of my old pocket calendars stashed away in a drawer somewhere, I have no idea why I’ve kept them, probably to look back on one day and marvel at how hectic my life used to be 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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