One thing I’ve never learned to do is using a planner or an organizer. I tried, but using it is almost as difficult for me as counting in English. I think among all the things that an immigrant cannot learn easily, counting in one’s second language claims the crown of all inabilities. Using an organizer is the close second. For me, at least. Not only it is impossible for me to count in English, often I feel haltingly uncertain when asked of phone numbers, which I know by heart and have committed to memory, but not in English. When the need of reciting the number in English, I often feel unsure, more unsure than what would happen if I am to talk about non-number related issues. Probably because numbers are quite devoid of context and cannot be absorbed in the natural flow of language. Or probably due to some other causes that I am not aware of.
I am often envious of my friends who, not growing up in the culture of managing time, would buy a new organizer every year, write down appointments, and review the written entries from time to time. Whenever we want to plan something, they would say, “let me check my schedule”. Or better still whip out the proud organizer and start to add an entry in a vacant grid in between a half filled up page while telling me, “I think I can do it.” They look so cool, chic, modernized. Not only that, they look like they have a more eventful life than they really have. I am green with envy and I have to emulate at once. So I go out and buy a planner, even if it’s already May or June, and I can only use half of the pages. The next time we try to organize something, I will whip out the proud little booklet and repeat the same line as casually as they do. But things just haven’t worked out for me so well. Whenever the moment came when I could flaunt my planner to make myself proud, I found that I didn’t know where my planner was and couldn’t remember where I placed it. I could go to the second option of saying, “let me check my schedule and get back to you,” just to continue my pretension. But I am a typical sloth, too lazy to do anything extra even if for the purpose of beautify myself. Just think of all the work to locate the whereabouts of the planner, to flip through all the empty pages which I had never bothered to write down any entries, and then to contact my friends again to confirm the appointment. That’s too much to do just to keep up the appearance. So I couldn’t use the second option either. This happened to at least four planners I bought for the last ten years.
I guess if I do a job with a lot of appointments, like sales, or if I am a manager of certain kind, I will have to get used to a planner, but I’m not a salesperson or a manager. My schedule is rather repetitive and routine. So I don’t really need a planner that much. My friends are the same, but they can learn this new time management trick and apply it so well to their life.
I just can’t do it. Probably because I am half Mongolian, from my father side. My Mongolian genes must be acting up against my modernization effort. I mean we are nomad and have lived on the steppe of Siberia for thousands of years. Time, space, money are quite immaterial to our life.