Once upon a time in New York City, a wandered into a bar somewhere I guess in Midtown but leaning a little over to the Gramercy Park part of town. It was a quiet little place, but “authentic” on some level, so I stopped in for a beer on my way home. (Home was a grotesque yet “desirable” apartment in a tenement in the Lower East Side, but that’s another story.)
There was a game on the tv and a juke box in the corner and a couple of suits who had stayed too long after work and an amorous couple and a very large book-reading African-American man who, with me, was the only other person on our side of the bar, although on the other side of the bar there was a disaffected bartender working a tooth pick and reading the paper. He was at least kind enough to pour me a beer.
Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, my fellow bar-dweller slammed down his paper back novel, arose and announced in a booming voice to those of us thus assembled: I AM AN ANALOGUE MAN LIVING IN A DIGITAL WORLD!!!
There was a slight pause, a momentary silence as I suppose we all took in his message. And then he sat down and went back to his reading and life in the bar continued as before.
Yet I’ve never forgotten it, because it was like he had done that for my benefit. I, too, am an analogue man living in a digital world, which I proved to myself last week, this time vis a vis the question of daytimers.
You see, I have an iPhone and a MacBookPro with all the scheduling and calendar functions and the supposed automatic syncing by virtue of the Cloud. One would think I would be so organized and efficient as I entered this new year that I wouldn’t have a worry in the world. That I would, in fact, be all over it.
Well, after missing two appointments last week and only making a third because I happened to be in the place where it was supposedly happening. I realized that unless I write it down, I don’t don’t know it’s happening. I can push the buttons and rig the alerts and all the rest of it, but for some reason, unless I can see, in my mind’s eye, that page in my calendar on which I’ve notated the event — and when I do that I can see it so clearly it’s uncanny, right down to the colour of the ink — then I’m doomed to miss the event, blissfully unaware that it was ever meant to happen in the first place.
This has gone on for years. Every year, I think I can get by without one. Every year, at some point early in January, I find myself in Ried’s Stationers looking for the book I can live with for the next 50 weeks or so.
I should never schedule anything for the first few weeks in January, at least until I realize I have no sense of my schedule, of the demands being put on my time, unless I have written it down somewhere.
So, I now have a day timer and if you want to meet me sometime this year, the odds are now much greater that I will actually show up.
An analogue man in a digital world. That’s me.
Thanks for reading!