FEATURE — I sit with a blank page before me unsure what to write. My head is filled with the news of the day. Afghanistan evacuations. COVID-19 cases. Terrorist bombings. Drought. Muskets and religious institutions. Vaccine debates. Mask debates. Hurricanes and tropical storms.
None of it feels right for this space. There are countless others for it. Instead, on this Sunday morning, I offer you respite from the news of the day. Respite in the form of a little levity. Levity about nothing whatsoever of importance.
Over spaghetti dinner before my oldest left for college a few weeks ago, he and his girlfriend came up with a great idea: they should share a Google calendar while they’re both away at school. That way, they can have a better sense of what the other is doing at any given time as they juggle FaceTime dates with their new college schedules three time zones apart.
One of my other boys quickly poked a hole in the lovebird’s logic: “that’s great and all until her calendar says, ‘hot date with Bob.’” “Yeah,” the other brother piped in, “or his says, ‘make out session with Sally.’”
Even after we laughed at the improbability of either of those official calendar entries, as well as the brothers’ choices of names for these hypothetical college dates, we all agreed that if anything like that happened, it would be awkward. Very awkward.
The next day, I related the dinner conversation to my neighbor when she inquired about my boy’s college preparations and impending girlfriend separation. She immediately gasped, “Oh, no! Not a shared calendar.”
I didn’t have to wait long for her to explain. “A few years back, my mother-in-law randomly called up and asked about my mental health. She said she was concerned that I was too stressed out. When I asked why she was concerned about that, she said she’d noticed I had a massage booked for later that day.”
What my neighbor friend didn’t have to tell me was that this was especially odd because 1) she and her mother-in-law didn’t really have that kind of relationship; and 2) her mother-in-law lived in a different state.
“So, I asked her,” my friend continued, “how did you know I have a massage appointment today?”
“Do you know what she said?” my friend rhetorically asked. “She said, ‘It was on the calendar, dear.’”
To what calendar she was referring, my friend had no clue. She only used one calendar, shared with her husband, for household items like kids’ activities, family vacations, date nights . . . oh, and to track her menstrual cycle.
That couldn’t possibly be the calendar to which her mother-in-law was referring. Because that calendar also had alerts set up with pop-up notifications counting down to her cycle each month along with tailored messages for her husband’s eyes only.
That would be really embarrassing. Not as embarrassing as when her husband accidentally shared instructional topless photos to their family blog of her learning to nurse their twins at the hospital, but embarrassing nonetheless.
And yet, it was the very same calendar. The calendar that showed my friend’s impending massage. Hot date nights with her spouse. And yes, her menstrual cycle.
How long had her mother-in-law had this access? Years. As in several.
How did it happen? They were never quite sure, but odds are on an errant key stroke or two that accidentally granted permission. And it only took a few more deliberate strokes to undo the access. But not before my friend was a little traumatized by the whole thing.
So, maybe the lesson is this: in a world full of blogs and twitter and twenty-four-hour news cycles, a shared calendar isn’t always the best of ideas. But it is great for some much-needed laughs. Especially when the other stuff feels so heavy to hold.
Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.
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