An Analogue Man in a Digital World   7 comments

Writing stuff down in my new day timer in Caffe Beano.

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!

Posted January 11, 2012 by Eugene Stickland in Uncategorized

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7 responses to “An Analogue Man in a Digital World

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  1. We may well be as bad as each other.

  2. Well let’s see if you’re better or worse than me … I have a daytimer that sits under the iMac on my desk and holds my record of hours workes and notes to myself about work and so on. But when it comes to appointments or TV and radio programs I want to catch or family suppers or whatnot, that goes on the calendar presently leaning against the desk and, when I get around to it, tacked to the wall to my left. So far, so good, but then … inexplicably … I sometimes forget to look on the calendar … and end up missing things.

    Or the grocery list, where I also write down other errands to do when in town so it’s all done in one trip. Great, right? Sure … if I’d remember to take the damn list off the fridge and stick it into my purse before heading to town.

    Agree with you guys, the old daytimers can be a hoot to look back through. Makes them hard to throw out, even though WHO HAS SPACE to keep them, with all these old journals????

    • Well, I had to get a paper daytimer which come to think of it I haven’t seen for a few days. I got a Kobo but after reading three books on it in quick succession, I haven’t looked at it for a week or so. And bought three new books which I certainly didn’t need on the weekend. And always an analogue watch except in some cases I feel I need the precision of the digital clock on my iPhone. And I am also a Mac user. How’s that?

  3. I’m with you, Eugene! The act of writing something down, by hand, actually helps me remember. But the other great thing about my analogue daytimers is I can go back twenty years now and see what I was doing, how much I did (or didn’t) exercise, what movies and plays I was seeing, who I scheduled meetings with and what projects I was working on. My old agendas are priceless and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be inclined to (or even be able to) scroll back and reflect using my electronic gadget du jour.

    • Yeah those old daytimers can take you back! And if we went back through them, we’d be reminded of all the times we spent together and all the changes we went through!

    • They are a study in time. I find it amazing how just seeing some appointment noted down can bring back a flood of memories about an event or series of events I had forgotten all about! Like maybe our meeting at Classic Jack’s that Sunday afternoon, which in more ways than one occurred a lifetime ago!

      • Memorable, but not a lifetime away. We’re not that old, Eugene!

        When I was finishing “Jeremy de Bergerac”, (’cause, you know, we were starting rehearsals in two days), I was inspired to go back to the very first scenes I wrote when I was in your writers’ group. I had decided to just write a play and I remember you had said it seemed like an after school special (which, btw, was absolutely accurate). There’s virtually nothing that remains of that draft other than the title and basic premise, but seeing the words again brought back a ton of great memories.

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