ODE TO PEN AND PAPER (or pencil and Filofax)

The calendar on my i-phone alerts me it’s nearly the end of October. It also tells me I have an engagement tonight, a dinner tomorrow and a book club next week. My little handy-dandy device also communicated my plans to my computer at home which, in turn, has alerted various people who are participating in these activities where and when we will be meeting. All very clever and technologically advanced (thank you Steve).

My laptop also alerted me to the fact I need to buy a new insert for my Filofax. I dutifully log  on the website and purchase the $20 one page per day calendar that will be popped in my old-fashioned mail box in a few days.

I clearly remember the day I bought that black leather Filofax, then the accessory du jour. I simply couldn’t afford it but I wasn’t going for an imitation – it had to be the real thing. I probably had cereal every night  for two weeks in a row to compensate for the purchase, as in those days silly 20 year olds didn’t have a hope in hell to be granted a credit card. It was bought at Brown’s, on South Molton Street in London, a store  still synonymous with fashion and fashionistas – I probably felt underdressed and a bit of a cheat when I handed my money in exchange for my brand new diary.

That work horse of desk and pocket diaries has been with me for 25 years. The very same one. A little bit worse for wear but not that much – the little plate that covers the button on the clasp has come off, and that is after 20 years of travel, of having lived in and out of purses, thrown around and lugged everywhere I went. If I really wanted, I could send it to the Filofax clinic and have it repaired for free. But I like imperfections. The golden embossing on the inner flap is still shining, the binding mechanism still works like a charm and, every December, I look forward to inserting the new pages, transcribing friends’ and family’s birthdays and staring with hopeful expectation to a blank slate of a year.

It now lives on my desk at home and only thinly sharpened pencils are allowed on the soft paper, easy to erase when appointments get changed or postponed. Because for all my technological wizardry, I still transcribe all the information that is passed between computer and phone on my trusted Filofax. In the back of my mind, I fear a mechanical failure that will wipe out everything from those memory chips and, even if I know that all the information is backed up on a cloud somewhere, those pencil scribbles make me feel safe. And you know what? It will still be there 20 years from now, when I will be on I-phone 15.















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