Hat on Top, Coat Below


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December 22, 2002

Rather than running around to all the office supply stores looking for the kind of calendar pages I like, I ordered the 2003 ones directly from DayRunner. Yes, I had to pay almost in much in shipping as it cost to buy the refills, but if I’d gone to the store I’d probably have bought gel pens and other stuff I don’t really need, so overall I probably still saved money. Or I would have, if I hadn’t succumbed to the lure of the sale section and bought two new planner binders. The one I have now is perfectly functional and not really showing much wear despite my carrying it around with me for something like five or six years. But still, zippered planners for under $4? How could I resist? I couldn’t, and bought two. I can only use one at a time, but I couldn’t decide from the tiny pictures on the website which one I’d like better. I figured I when they got here I could keep one and give the other as a gift—though I can’t think of who I’d give a planner to, since I doubt any friend or relative would appreciate the message that I think they need to get organized—or just keep the second one in reserve for when I get tired of the first one or it falls apart.

The descriptions on the website were sketchy, so it wasn’t until the box arrived and I opened it that I found both the planners were designed for students. I guess that’s not surprising; the one I’ve got now is also a student planner, which I picked because it was more colorful and less stuffy than the professional versions. Working in accounting for more than a decade, I’d had my fill of professional by the time I bought my current plum-colored planner as a way to mark the next stage of my life. These new planners are not just targeted at students in general, either, one is aimed at girls and the other at boys. Now, given that one has pink trim and a tropical print zipper pull tab, I wasn’t surprised that it had a smiling young woman pictured on the label, holding a pen and no doubt about to write down her next appointment to get her long, luxuriant locks permed and colored. Still, I was surprised when I opened it up to find a mirror inside the front cover, nestled in a flower-shaped cutout. Below the mirror, there’s a mesh pocket that closes with Velcro, convenient for storing lip gloss and a tampon or two. Replacing the generic white and blue pages it has in it now with my calendar pages, with their pink and floral borders, might push the whole thing entirely too far over into cute and girly for my taste. The boy planner has a clean cut young man on the label. His planner has no mirror or lipstick pocket, but instead has a loop for a pen and slots for id or credit cards. It’s manly and black outside and in. The pages provided are the same as the girl planner, but the binder rings are bigger, despite it being narrower overall. I wonder if there was a lot of research behind the decisions about ring size and overall dimensions—maybe boys like to put a lot of extra stuff in their planners, while girls stick to the pages provided so they all match.

Now I need to make a decision about which planner to use. The boy planner goes better with my office, but the girl planner is more cheerful. Maybe cheerful is the way to go with the greyest days of winter about to descend upon me. I can look at the tropical print lining and imagine myself in Hawaii, planning my days on the beach. Plus I can use the mirror to put on some bright lipstick to improve my mood even further. I just need to see how it looks with my pink and lilac pages—I don’t want to think Barbie Dream Planner every time I write down another appointment. Maybe it won’t be as pink as I think; maybe it’ll just be a warm glow to see me through winter. Then I can switch to the cool and collected boy planner in the heat of summer, when I’d rather think of dark places than warm and sunny ones. There, now I’ve got a plan for my planners, and the eight bucks I spent is justified. All is well in my world.

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