Marking time

There is something cathartic about crossing off the date on the calendar at the end of the day. This is usually the last thing I do in the evening before flipping of the lights in my office and closing shop for the night.

For the last few years, I’ve used a small Field Notes calendar for this job. Earlier this month, I realized that the calendar I got back in late 2019 was about to run out. I headed over to Field Notes website but couldn’t find the calendar for 2021. I sent them an email and was dismayed to learn that they had sold out of the 2021 calendars already. I guess a lot people like cross the days of their calendar.

I suppose I could use a different calendar, but I am a creature of habit. Besides, I like the Field Notes calendar. It is small, compact, and I set up against a window so that it is always in view while I am working. It proves useful in quickly looking for a date when my screens are filled with other things, and I don’t want to go hunting for my Calendar app. In truth, I am more likely to use the cal command on the terminal than to go open up the Calendar app. I prefer simple, lightweight, over heavy complexity. Indeed, if cal had the ability to mark off each passing day, I might use that instead. I suppose I could create a script that does that.

But I like the aesthetics of the Field Notes calendar. I like pulling it off the shelf and picking up the red Pilot G-2 pen that I keep beside it and scratching a line through the date. A scripted version of that wouldn’t be the same thing.

Part of what I like about the Field Notes calendar (and this is true of the cal command as well), is that I don’t feel overwhelmed looking at it. It doesn’t show me all the birthdays and holidays that fall on a given date. Best of all, it doesn’t show me all of the various meetings, appointments, school activities, after-school activities, and other reminders that generally fill my day. I can mark time without being overwhelmed by the things that fill it. There is almost always something on my daily calendar that I have to deal with. Indeed, I just looked at the calendar for January (steeling myself for the experience) and discovered that the only day in January where not a single entry exists is Friday, January 8. Why that should be, I have no idea.

The Field Notes calendar says it best right there on the backboard above the pages that I tear out month after month:

Built to last for months and months of reliable service. No maintenance or special tools required.

I’m not sure even the cal command can make that promise, given that it is dependent on an entire Unix-based operating system as a foundation, which is in turn dependent upon a working computer, which in turn is depending on the power grid. As I write this, early on January 21, I see that I have 11 more days to cross out before my calendar runs out. I also means I have 11 days to locate a substitute, although I’m not sure I want a substitute. Maybe I’ll write that cal script after all, marking time until October when I will be sure to place my order for the 2022 Field Notes calendar early this time. 


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