My longstanding practice is to put things on my work calendar as soon as I plan them, even if they are not going to happen for months. It’s not unusual for me to have deadlines and appointments on my calendar a year in advance. In my experience, I’m just less likely to create a scheduling conflict or double-book myself if I keep my calendar current.
Normally, there’s nothing strange about this. The planned dates and deadlines arrive, the appointments and conferences and meetings happen, and the calendar pages turn and fade into the past.
Of course, in 2020 nothing is normal. In 2020, all of the appointments and meetings and trips that were planned were cancelled — but they have remained on the calendar because there’s no point in going through the effort needed to delete them. As a result, each week I get notices of what I was supposed to have been doing if the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t thrown us all a gigantic curve ball. I’ve gotten reminders of haircuts missed, dinners that didn’t happen, performances that never occurred, and business and personal trips to places like Austin and Chicago that simply vanished on the wings of the wind.
Looking at those calendar entries that I made long ago has been a very weird experience. It’s like unexpectedly catching sidelong glances of yourself in a mirror, where your reflection is reversed, or getting a glimpse of my life in one of those parallel universes that have been fodder for so many Star Trek episodes and sci fi novels, movies, and TV shows. And, because all of these things were actually planned, they are far more plausible than the scenarios where the Nazis won World War II or an evil empire controls the galaxy. If anything, the reverse is true: Alternative Bob’s life seems a lot more plausible than one where the United States shut down for months due to a virus. In fact, the sudden emergence of a virus causing the world to close its doors seems like a pretty contrived plot device.
I’ve been following his exploits with some interest, and I can tell you that, so far, Alternative Bob has had a heck of a 2020.