Melanie has just phoned me, a couple of hours after getting back from six weeks in southern Africa. It sounds like she's had a great time - bungee jumping, sky diving, white-water rafting... Mel has been a close, sweet friend for many years now, but I don't seem to have seen her for months (Easter? or earlier?). It would be great to spend an evening just chatting and drinking and listening to some dodgy old records from our schooldays, but that doesn't seem destined to happen. My schedule isn't usually particularly busy, but...
"We'll have to get together sometime soon. I'm going back to uni next weekend, when are you free?"
"Um, I'm going to V98 next weekend."
"V98. It's a festival."
"Oh, OK. Tonight?"
"Sorry, I'm going to a party in Bradford"
"Goddaughter's birthday party in Derby."
"Working away from home."
"Oh. Well, then. See you at Christmas, I guess."
Another year passes, it seems. That's happening a lot, recently. I've started to take what Schedule+ and Outlook tell me as gospel.
"I look at my Daytimer and see: CES in January, COMDEX in May, Tim's wedding in July, etc., and I realise the whole year is over before it's even begun. What's the point of it all? It's all of it so predictable"
--- Douglas Coupland, Microserfs (1995)
Perhaps I should phone her back and invite her to this party tonight. It's being held by one of my colleagues, and I'll hardly know anybody there (three people maximum), so taking a friend could be cool. Ah, but it's gonna be a long late night (I'm staying overnight), and if Mel's only just go back she'll probably be tired. Oh well. Christmas it is, then.
I've just realised one of the disadvantages physical paper-based books have over cyberspace - you can't search for a string. It took me bloody ages to find that Coupland quote!