A month of my life is empty

THIS is the last time I am buying a diary.

I have just flicked through the past month of my new $30 diary and confirmed my worst fear.

It contains – nothing. One month. Gone! Not only have I wasted $2.50 of my $30, I have depressed myself with the thought that I am, a: still disorganised; b: doing nothing very interesting; and c: not being invited anywhere. I don’t even have an appointment with the dentist.

I haven’t even filled in the bit at the front where it asks for your car key number (I didn’t know it had one) and your blood group.

I passed a few desultory moments, hoping I could justify the purchase, by scanning the public holidays, but there’s nothing there. Except that Tasmania has more than any other state, if you wanted to know.

I even studied the breeding program and got the shock of my life to discover that Jennies take a year from the date of service to giving birth. I’m married to one and we’ve got five children and I never knew that.

You may ask why a man who never owned an animal bigger than a dog has a diary that gives the breeding cycles of mares, ewes, pigs and donkeys (a jenny is a female donkey; also a wren), but I can’t give you the answer.

My birthday falls in January, for heaven’s sake, and I haven’t even written that down!

I’ve already sworn I’ll make better use of February, and I already know I won’t. What’s the point? Yesterday I did nothing, and if I filled in today it would say, “See yesterday.”

I could get a stamp made up.

I could save $30 next year by not buying the damned diary. But I bet I do. They call to me from the stationer’s shop shelves where they’re stacked in organised splendour.

It’s as if they don’t only come with a little pencil and a bit of ribbon down the middle, but with a whole life — or a year of one, anyway — secretly sewn into the binding.

You get it home expecting to open the thing at a pristine, unwritten page and have destiny leap out and grab you by the throat. I’ve got it open now, in front of me as I write. It’s Friday, February 1. Fifth week of the year. Three hundred and thirty three days to go till it’s over.

Is that an omen? Maybe 333 is only half as evil as 666?

It breaks the day into hours until it gets to 6pm and, as if it has finally lost patience, it tries to cram the remaining six hours into three lines marked “Evening”. It’s not destiny that’s grabbing me by the throat – it’s failure. Even the bloody diary thinks I’m a loser.

I know what will happen. It’ll stay like this until halfway through June. I’ll need to scribble a quick note while the phone is gripped between my chin and my shoulder and the diary will be the closest thing. I’ll struggle the pencil out and frantically scribble the message down.

Later, when I read it back, it’ll say, “Drinks. 7pm. Next Tuesday.”

It won’t tell me where, or who with, and it’ll be written on the unsullied pages of January.

I don’t need a diary. I need a manager.