Northeast Times

Time to say farwell to 2013… and its calendar

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. 

Oh my. 

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? ••

You can reach at pinegander@aol.com.

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