Lost in Time
On Perry Mason -- and countless police detective shows since -- the questioning begins with the cops frog-marching a suspect into bare room. Tilting a desk light into the perp's panicking eyes, one of the cops barks out: "Where were you on the night of June the 12th?"
Even when I had volumes of storage space in my brain (many quantum chunks of trivia ago), I wondered: what if someone didn't remember where s/he was that night?
It nagged at me, an inconsequential, paranoid worry about not being able to give the fuzz a sharp-edged answer. I didn't plan to need an alibi, of course, but still, I worried. It's just one result of having television provide a person's wider socialization...
Later, pondering the flight of days through my memory, I put myself into the dark blue uniforms behind the harsh light and wondered, "Where was I on the night of -- oh, any date?" And also, "Am I supposed to be someplace tomorrow?"
Hence the shelf of appointment books. The year I left high school, I started keeping a datebook. I jotted down all kinds of things: tests, assignments, lunches, dates, musical happenings, friends' birthdays. Later, it was deadlines and events and meetings, confirmation and flight numbers, video conference passwords, dinner reservations, and so on.
Like my antiquated Rolodex, a datebook leaves room for me NOT to think. When is the flight? I don't know, it's in the datebook. When is the dentist appointment? I don't know, it's in the datebook. Are you free tomorrow? Honest to pete, I don't know. It's in the datebook.
Which is splendid until the 2014 datebook fell out of my bag when I was crossing Philadelphia International with my elderly dog...and nobody turned it into the Lost and Found bin. Or if someone did, the Lost and Found people couldn't <irony alert> find it.
Since the end of September, I have been hoping for the return of my 2014. I've missed a handful of appointments. I've scattered mass confusion about upcoming events and missed birthdays. I've spoken the words, "I don't know, it was in the datebook," about four hundred times.
It's a first-world problem, but I feel it like the loss of a tooth.
I have 2015 in hand and am looking forward to knowing again where I was. And where I'm supposed to be.
12/30/2014 01:07:02 am
love the photo, love the writing love the love of date books. 2014 come home!!!!
12/31/2014 02:06:31 am
Thank you -- I wish it would come back, but it's truly lost, I think.
12/30/2014 04:21:19 am
One should wonder if the loss such an item could alter reality as we know it. Perhaps some stranger is now fulfilling the end of that wish list?
12/31/2014 02:08:27 am
It already has altered my reality! And will continue to do so, when I go to check on something like, what's the name of that hotel where we stayed...
12/30/2014 12:27:55 pm
following Ed's line, Did anybody show for christmas you didn't know. Stranger meet y'all for lunch. What if this year you left the book home and carried the days jobs with you. Or a travel book for trips. Or a My Cloud like I have at home, you can update the laptop with. Or maybe you can have your freedom all year. Potluck on Amy in 2015.
12/31/2014 02:12:39 am
So far as I know, nobody showed up at the doctor's on time, and nobody crashed the Christmas party...I suppose I could leave the book at home, but that would negate its value as a junk-drawer of information, wouldn't it?
1/1/2015 11:22:46 am
Just realized, after decades of detailed Frankllin Planner years, I forgot to buy a 2015 refill. Does that mean today didn't happen?
1/2/2015 06:10:49 am
Hi Lois --
1/3/2015 05:32:48 am
How profound... People often talk of 'losing time', but they are generally referring to the intangible loss of a snippet of memory or a moment in time. You've managed to go and physically lose an entire year. Physical time loss. You called it a first world problem, but I think it might be more of a fifth-dimensional-space-time-continuum conundrum.
1/3/2015 01:00:57 pm
I feel there is a very clever comment to be made, Kate -- something about Proust and a record skipping skipping skipping -- but it's not coming clear.
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