Thursday, January 12, 2006
I spent all day Sunday exploring the features on my new silver PowerBook G4 laptop. It has gigabytes, like a million of them, and I needed those gigabytes because I was going to be doing things—big things—that had to be remembered and stored. It’s silver.
After spending hours using the internet and Microsoft Word (Mac edition), I knew that I had made the right purchase, because those things worked. I was now officially a Mac guy. I moved my index finger on the mouse touchpad in such a way that the arrow was at the bottom of the screen, making all of these other icons jump out at me.
That’s when I found the program worth $2,000: iCalendar.
One of its amazing features was that I wasn’t limited to just viewing the month of January. I could actually “scroll” to other months during the year. First I went to February to make sure that this year was not a Leap Year. It wasn’t. Thank God. We would be celebrating my friend’s birthday on Feb. 28, not the 29th, even though his birthday would not exist this year. I made a mental note to plan accordingly. I would start shopping on Feb. 4, a Saturday, and would be finished shopping on Feb. 6, a Monday, which would be exactly three weeks and one day from his birthday. This would allow enough time to rethink my gifts and make any necessary returns or exchanges, while still leaving a cushion to avoid late shipping. Gifts would arrive promptly on Feb. 28, and last year’s Feb. 29 “I’m sorry I didn’t realize it wasn’t a Leap Year” debacle would all be forgotten. I silently thanked iCalendar by typing an appreciative note into the new diary I was keeping on Microsoft Word. Fortunately, the silver Macs allow you to use multiple applications at one time.
Then I got to thinking about my birthday. I found the month of March and saw that March 15 was on a Wednesday. I was deflated. Hump Day. Would we be up for celebrating my birthday? Might we be too tired? Would we just want Wednesday, March 15 to be over with so we could move on to the next day? I saved my diary under the file name “Personal,” opened another Word document and began drafting a letter to my friend:
It has come to my attention via iCalendar that my birthday falls on a Wednesday this year. Yes, I know. I can’t believe it either. I understand it is three months away, but I want you to know that I have been looking forward to my birthday for some time, and I really need you to be “up” for it. Though it is Hump Day, I think if you concentrate on getting a full eight hours of sleep from now until my birthday, we may be able to overcome Hump Day and make my birthday something we can both remember. If we are successful, it will make my Saturday birthday in 2008 that much sweeter. Do you think we will still be friends then?
PS: I know my birthday in 2008 is on a Saturday because iCalendar allows you to go beyond the year you are currently in. An amazing piece of hardware I have.
PPS: IMPORTANT: YOUR BIRTHDAY IS ON FEB. 28 THIS YEAR.
After taking some time to read the instruction manual for the computer, I learned that I could save time if I were to “copy” the letter and then “paste” it into the “body of an e-mail.” I could feel my life becoming easier.
• • •
I made a promise to myself that I would have a girlfriend by Valentine’s Day in 2011. I would be available that Monday night after my new job at the hospital—a job that I will get on a Friday in May during 2009. I went to the Cheesecake Factory to make dinner reservations. I called my parents and told them about my Valentine’s Day plans. I mentioned I would be getting married sometime in 2012. When they asked if I had a date in mind, I went right to iCalendar. “January 1, 2012—a Sunday. It will be like a New Year, new life sort of thing.” I could tell my mother was excited.
I made a promise to myself that I would have a girlfriend by Valentine’s Day in 2011. I went to the Cheesecake Factory to make dinner reservations.
“What’s her name?” she asked.
“Shelly,” I said, pretty sure that I could find someone named Shelly if I looked hard enough.
“What’s her last name?
Several days later, I was in a coffee shop with all the other Mac laptop people, doing some important stuff on my silver one. Some people had white ones, and I couldn’t even imagine what they were doing. The silvers are better because they look cooler and have iCalendar. “How are you liking your computer?” a man with a white one asked. I ignored him. Then, a woman with the same silver one as mine asked me the same question. “Oh, I love it. It’s so much better than my old one,” I said, referring to my VCR. Then, raising my voice a little so the man with the white one could hear me, I screamed, “It can do so much more stuff than the white ones!!!” The woman started laughing hysterically and screamed louder, “I know, right!!! Did you know there is an application that allows you to calculate numbers?!?”
I freaked out. I returned the favor. Like a spy giving a fellow spy some information, I whispered into her ear, “iCalendar.” She smiled a knowing smile and nodded her head slowly. She knew.
“My name is Shelly Smith,” she said. “What’s yours?”
“Doesn’t matter. Shelly, what are you doing on February 14, 2011?” She took out her computer and checked. “I have plans. Sorry. I have to go.” And then she was gone. But she left me with something special that I will never forget: Shelly taught me that I could actually set up reminders for certain dates in iCalendar. Amazing…Silver…Laptop…Mac…iCalendar.
SETH REISS IS A STAFF WRITER AT BOSTON’S WEEKLY DIG, WHERE THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED.