Column: It’s a date…or is it?

Column:  It’s a date…or is it?

I felt like I was on trial for my life, but really, I was only being thrown out of the Luddite Club.

“It has come to our attention,” said George, our co-founder, in a frightening voice, “that you are actually considering keeping your personal engagements calendar on some sort of electronic device.”

“I-I-I’m only thinking about it,” I stammered. “I haven’t done anything yet.”

“But what would cause you even to contemplate such a thing?” George continued. “We all remember when you hand-made your own appointment books, from spiral notebooks. You didn’t even use the pre-printed ones from the stationery store.”

“Have you noticed, that stationery store went out of business 10 years ago?” I snapped. “Now all that’s left is Staples.”

“Let’s stay on topic,” said Fred, another long-time Luddite. “The point is, what were you thinking?”

“If you must know, I was thinking that I’ve missed too many doctor appointments, lately. And I need for that to stop happening.”

“Don’t they usually call a few days ahead? To remind you? That’s how Fred and I keep track,” said Fred’s wife, Gladys.

“That only works for the doctors who use automated reminders.”

“Ugh!” Everyone made a face and took a swig of their drink at the word “automated.”

The thing is, ever since moving to the suburbs, I have kept the family calendar on the kitchen wall by the phone. That was our Information Center. It was essential for keeping track of PTA meetings; playdates; Moms’-nights-out; even the occasional babysitter.

As the kids grew older, they were told to put things on the calendar, themselves. I told everyone, “If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.”

“Does that mean I don’t have the flu, Mom? Because that’s not on the calendar.”

“Are you sure? I think what you mean is, Oops, Mom, I forgot to get the flu shot that you scheduled for me, last Tuesday.”

I kept the calendar by the phone because phone calls were how I learned everything — from engagements, to weddings, to babies; even 9/11, when a friend called me up to blurt out, “Turn on the TV!”

But somehow, over the years, the phone rang less and less, and email became the way everyone communicated. I really miss talking to people.

Nowadays when the phone rings, nine times out of 10 it’s a robot calling to sell me solar panels, or a new credit card, or to tell me that its very good friend, my computer, has been “compromised.”

It got so bad the other day that I snatched up the phone and just bellowed “What do you want?” Of course, that was the only call all week from a potential client.

Come to think of it, maybe I need electronic caller ID, too. But don’t tell the Luddite Club; I’m in enough trouble already.

“Your problem, Judy, is that you’re just too lazy to walk five steps from the computer in your den to the kitchen, to write things onto your calendar. Admit it!”

“Okay, I admit it. I am lazy. But that’s not the worst problem.”

“What could be worse than that?” asked Gladys.

“The real problem is that I get all these notices, in my email…”

There was a gasp from everyone in the club room.

“…so I walk into the kitchen, to write them on my calendar…”

They close their mouths.

“…and when I get there, I forget why I’m even there.”

The room is silent.

“That’s why I keep missing things. Even…”


“Even meetings of the Luddite Club!”

“So that’s why you didn’t make it, last week?” Gladys laughed. “Here’s what you do.” She takes her phone out of her purse and shows me her calendar app.

“So you use this already?”

“Yep — me and Fred.”

“You too, George?”

“ ‘Fraid so. I was going to tell you, eventually.”

“Is there anybody here who still uses pen and paper?”

“Tim, probably.”

“Where is he?”

“We don’t know. He didn’t show up this week.”

“So — is it okay with everybody here if I do a trial run of this, with my phone?”

“As long as none of this gets into the official minutes.”

“So moved! Meeting adjourned.”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here