Last Minute Midterm Week Survival Plans

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Next Tuesday is election day. On Wednesday I have a root canal.

Clearly, something’s wrong with my planning mechanism. For all I know, I scheduled a colonoscopy for Thursday and just forgot to write it on the calendar. There is a limit to the amount of pain one can endure; I’m hopeful about the midterms but not unrealistic. Next week should at least have included a spa day, if I had only hired a scheduler.

In the olden days there were Secretaries.

CEOs, district managers, sales representatives, all those guys — they were all guys — had secretaries. (Who were all girls. The olden days were before girls became women. You could’ve been 75 years old, but if you were a secretary, you were still one of the girls.) Secretaries kept their bosses from missing meetings or dinners, knew where everything was, found stuff. After a root canal, any good secretary would’ve scheduled a spa day.

I was never a secretary, and certainly never had one. Reporters had editors who seldom created order and usually complicated daily life. I did, of course, immediately after picking up a BA in Art, go to night school to brush up my shorthand. I can still cover a mean story with the help of my efficient speedwriting, but the rest of what they taught at secretarial school passed me by.

And today I just need a secretary. Secretaries were displaced some time in the 1980s by electronic organizers: digital diaries that straightened out address books and calendars and dental appointments. These were eventually displaced by computer systems way too complicated for anyone who can remember what a secretary was. Computer organizers were eventually displaced by old-fashioned humans who discovered a whole new career choice: the professional organizer.

I actually have a professional organizer. For a very large fee she occasionally breezes around my apartment collecting stuff, say to take to the tax accountant so I don’t lose my mind or go to jail. Worth every penny of that fee, she replaced the organizer/financial secretary I did have, who was called a Husband — the very top of the household line. (He, however, may he rest in well-earned peace, operated with amazing efficiency out of seeming chaos, probably because he used to have a secretary.)

If I live long enough to master the switch from my beloved PC to this MacBook Air that threatens my sanity and blood pressure, the theory is that I will then have a brightly lit computer calendar synchronized with my iPhone and life will suddenly be ordered and peaceful.

This, however, will not happen before the midterms. Prayer may be my only hope.


  1. My husband actually (affectionately) calls me his “secretary”, among other things. All of which just makes me think – we’re both in trouble!

  2. Fran, you state: the theory is that I will then have a brightly lit computer calendar synchronized with my iPhone and life will suddenly be ordered and peaceful! DON’T BELIEVE IT! In the middle of your daily walk your phone will Ding to notify you that your next door neighbor has just invited you for tea, 15 minutes from now, or that Cousin Sally has a birthday tomorrow and you need to get a present for her. Oh, yes, there is a photo of somebody standing at your doorway from your Ring Doorbell and a note saying you left without turning off the TV, do you want the phone to turn it off?


    1. Maybe it is, in the words of that insurance company which will remain nameless, “a whole lot of something . . .” When I get better organized I’ll figure it out.

  3. good luck with the dental work! I so understand your comment about having only so much time/tolerance for pain. Must keep scheduling all those surgeries a t least a few months apart!

  4. Let me know how that goes… Still with Android and PC devices.. . Feeling too old to try to learn the new way of doing things. But if You can do it, I feel I should at least try!

    1. Well, any time I can convince a young whippersnapper like Andrew French to try something electronically new I will consider it a victory. Thanks for this small victory. (But don’t blame me for nervous breakdowns ahead.)

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