"Little Prince" calendar hangs on our bedroom wall, right next to the
bought this calendar with the Barnes & Noble gift certificate
my sister sent me for Christmas last year, along with a Stephen King
hardcover that I still haven't read, a box of coffee-cup notecards that
I still haven't mailed to anybody, and an Itty-Bitty reading light that
David absconded with before it was even out of the B&N bag,
least I'm enjoying my Little Prince calendar.
my way to the shower this morning, I pause for a moment and flip the
calendar over from April to May. I've been looking forward to this
moment for days: the ceremonial unveiling of the new month ... yet
another of the myriad small rituals that decorate my life. And yes,
I'm as anal about The Calendar Ceremony as I am about my other
43,897,621 'rituals.' No changing the calendar until the first morning
of the month. If I accidentally forget to change the calendar on the
first morning of the month, I have to leave the old month in place
and wait until the following month to change it. And absolutely NO
looking at future months in advance is permitted, not even as you're standing in the
middle of Barnes & Noble trying to choose a calendar. You can
look at the front cover ... but that's it. Peeking at upcoming calendar
art is the worst kind of bad luck.)
month, I am pleased to see, I will be waking up every morning to an
inside-out drawing of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. ("I
drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see
it clearly. They always need to have things explained.")
is good. This will work. I woke up looking at baobobs for the past
thirty mornings in a row: I'm ready for a change.
wasn't the worst month in history. The Tot Visits alone made it fun and
memorable and journal-worthy. My new bike got stolen, which sucked, but
then a bunch of *FootNotes* readers rallied together and raised
more than half the purchase price of a replacement bike. THAT
was certainly a month-brightener. Plus I survived the Mold Seminar, I
received the best damn job performance evaluation of my entire working
life and I didn't miss a single episode of "Survivor: Marquesas."
the other hand, I posted a measly eleven *FootNotes* entries in April,
none of them exactly Pulitzer material. Most of my auxiliary
writing projects stalled, as well, and I still owe
more e-mail than God. I made absolutely no progress whatsoever with my
credit card debt: if anything, I'm more in the hole now than I was a
month ago. I'm still on page 279 of "Outlander." I logged a miserable
88.2 miles on the bike, leaving 1,698.7 miles to go, as of this
I gained six pounds.
hoping to do much better -- at ALL of this stuff --
* * * * * *
hour later I'm standing at the kitchen counter ... partially dressed,
fully caffeinated, doling out orange juice and One-A-Days.
I'm doling, I'm looking at the "Earth From Above" calendar that hangs
on the wall next to our computer desk. This calendar -- like the Keith
Haring calendar last year, and the Route 66 calendar the year before,
and the I-can't-remember-what calendar the year before that -- was a
Christmas present from Jaymi to David. (A lovely stepdaughter/stepdad
holiday tradition which has flowered, over the years, with only minimal
encouragement from me.) This year's gift calendar features interesting
nature photographs, taken from miles above the earth: mangrove swamps
in French New Caledonia, flocks of pink flamingos in Kenya, date groves
in the Nile Valley.
month it was a mineral forest in Madagascar. We've just completed the
kitchen version of the Calendar Ceremony (David looking on with his
usual tolerant amusement): for the next four weeks, we will be enjoying
an aerial view of the Buccaneer Archipelago in West Kimberly,
Australia. Thousands of tiny green islets, like puzzle pieces, set
against the cobalt blue background of the Sea of Timor. It is very
beautiful, very serene, very happy-looking.
can look at this for a month, easily.
enjoying a period of almost unprecedented emotional equilibrium these
days. I like going to my job in the mornings, and I like coming
home from my job in the evenings. Historically it's been one
or the other (or neither), but never both at the same time. In
fact, except for missing The Tots -- the pilot light of sorrow there
never goes out -- I am probably as happy as I've ever been in my life.
seems appropriate that the kitchen wall calendar should reflect some of
that happy feeling.
* * * * * *
the time I get to the office, the 5 a.m. *Caffeine Molecules* are
wearing off. Time to reload.
While I'm waiting for the Peet's to brew/waiting for the phones to
start ringing/waiting for my co-workers to begin straggling through the
door, I wander around the Dirt Company office and change everybody's
calendar for them. No ceremony here: just a quick-and-dirty flip of the
page before moving on to the next cubicle. My theory is that you can
tell a lot about your co-workers by their choice in wall calendar.
Personal interests, for instance, are well represented: surfing,
trout-fishing, dogs, semi-clad young women draped over soil gradation
meters. Individual tastes in art are defined, as well: Monet, Ansel
Adams, Dilbert (lots and LOTS of Dilbert, for some
reason), babies dressed as chrysanthemums and stuffed into oversized
flowerpots. The Main Marketing Guy maintains a pristine text-only
calendar: no superfluous graphics of any kind. JoAnne, the Earth Mother
of our office, has a funky patchwork quilt calendar. (The New Guys --
read this: anyone hired after January 1st -- are stuck with the Mold
Remediation Association freebies.)
actually sort of interesting, matching personalities to calendar art.
the General Manager breezes into the office shortly after 9 a.m., fresh
from his 'dentist appointment,' just as I've finished swapping out
the dog-eared April calendar pages in my Day-Timer with a fresh batch of
May pages. (As usual, I've missed a couple of key birthdays in April.
Happy belated, Feef and Mizz: I love you guys.) As he signs himself in,
Scott glances at the calendar hanging above my desk to double-check the
you need to change your calendar," he says. "Today's the first of May,
Wouldn't you know it?? In my zeal to update every OTHER
calendar on the planet, all morning long, I've somehow managed to
overlook the one calendar I probably spend the most time looking at
every day: the huge "National Parks of America" monstrosity hanging
above my own desk. It's not a style I would have picked out for myself
-- I might have gone for bicycles or bridges or The Men of The Today
Show (Including Al Roker, As Long As He's Not In Spandex, OK?) -- but
it was a gift from my boss, right after I started working at The Dirt
Company, so I'm pretty much stuck with it for another seven months. I
briefly considered sticking a Post-It note to it, saying "My real
calendar is an Antoine de Saint-Exupéry" ... but I
thought that might hurt JoAnne's feelings. So I'm sucking it up. For
the past thirty days I've been forced to endure a spectacularly ugly
orange rock formation that reminded me either of Hell or the 1970's. (They're basically the same
thing, anyway.) I've just been counting the days until I
could flip the page.
have no idea what the month of May is going to look like, of course. I
just know it's got to be an improvement. So when Scott points out my
oversight, I joyously leap from my chair ... rip the ugly April rock
formation cleanly off the calendar ... and ceremoniously reveal the
month of May, where this month's featured photograph is ...
Mt. Rainier National Park in TicTac!!
real-life desktop wallpaper of the first forty years of my life,
and one of my all-time favorite things in the entire world!
Right after baobobs
and archipelagos and babies dressed like chrysanthemums stuffed into
flowerpots, that is.
May is going to be *my* month, after all.