Full confession: I’ve been in love, with my 2013 calendar.
I know its contours, I understand how to squeeze my commitments into its perfect little squares. And there are the huge bouquets of flowers welcoming each and every month. Corny, but so sweet!
And yes, because we’re archaic enough to still use paper calendars rather than some techno type, I recognize the need for a pristine new calendar before 2014 clicks into place. I’ve taken to writing 2014 commitments in the margins of my floral calendar, and then, in desperation, on napkins and on post-it notes that get stuck to my clothes.
The February date of the gathering of my husband’s college friends is written on the back of an envelope that has disappeared with the kitchen trash, never to be seen again. My next dental appointment? Anybody’s guess.
So yes, I was motivated. Despite my affection for it, that 2013 calendar hanging on the kitchen wall under the phone also is in a terminal state. There are stains, rips, scribbles and several pages that have come unhitched and are carelessly taped back on. Retirement is overdue.
So like an innocent abroad, I recently set off with my reluctant husband — and calendar-sharer — to one of those trendy bookstores with its own coffee bar where we asked a young, intense-looking man at the counter where the calendars might be.
“What theme?” he asked, clearly miffed that we’d been so vague.
My husband retreated into silence, leaving me to feel the way I had when I arrived for my geology final without having studied. Foolish me — I hadn’t even considered themes, let alone identified one.
“Nature,” I finally stammered.
Nature, it turns out, is a fairly broad calendar category. So broad that it fills racks and racks, aisles and aisles. Mountain scenes. Waterscapes. Beaches. Rain forests. Waterfalls. Seasons.
You get the picture…and there were quite literally hundreds of pictures, dozens of choices, overwhelming chances to immortalize 2014 in nature’s bounty. It was simply too overwhelming.
Next, we landed at a rack the size of a small battleship, this one holding rows and rows and rows of art calendars. Huge ones. Tiny ones. Calendars from the Old Masters. Calendars emblazoned with 1960s pop art, abstract art, barely recognizable representational art.
Just around the bend was a calendar totally devoted to cows, and another to pigs. This was clearly the barnyard section, and we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. After all, there were new worlds to conquer: Quilt calendars. Country churches. Barns. Victoriana.
It was my husband, he of the quantitative mind and the short shopping fuse, who suddenly recalled that our space for a calendar was finite. The phone wall in our kitchen just couldn’t accommodate the huge calendar featuring the Himalayas that had captured my fancy, but might be better suited to a major public building.
By now, my husband was pacing, a sure sign that it was time to fish or cut bait.
So I almost grabbed the 2014 Poets Calendar as a reminder that many calendars ago, I was an English literature major. I thought it might be nice to have Longfellow and Blake, Browning and Wordsworth, guide me from January through December of the brand new year.
That was until we saw the $24.95 sticker price of the Poets Calendar. Call me crazy — it seemed a bit steep for a few snippets of lyric verse.
Which is how it came to pass that I was suddenly seized by a rush of tenderness for the drab little wall calendar our insurance agent had sent this month in anticipation of our need.
It’s executed in black and white. The squares are small and the numbers are totally straightforward – no curlicues or adornment. The “trim” consists of major holidays printed neatly on the appropriate square.
Our insurance agent’s name, company name, phone number and email address constitute the other major “decorations.”
But that little calendar does fit right above the phone on the kitchen wall. It’s not associated with barnyard animals or weird art.
And with any luck, it will track our appointments, meetings, social obligations and maybe even some vacations, right through to 2014.
So who needs the Himalayas after all? ••