What Day Is It?

Common comedy scenario: Weirdly behaving person is asked what day it is and who’s the president of the United States. If WBP can’t answer correctly, she’s thrown into the loony bin or the drunk tank. If she’s already in the loony bin or the drunk tank, she isn’t let out.

This elicits, at best, a pro forma chuckle from me. As a freelancer who prefers a free-form schedule, I often need a calendar to remind me what day it is. And during the Bush II administration I was so far gone in denial that if someone asked me who was the president of the United States, I might have stared at them blankly or said “Jimmy Carter.”

My grasp of what constitutes non-weird behavior is sometimes shaky. Freelancing and living on Martha’s Vineyard will do that to you.

So several weeks ago I received a jury summons. The report date was January 14, 2014. I locked this into my memory bank as Monday, January 14. Monday = beginning of the week. Makes sense, right? I went around telling people I had jury duty on Monday.

Monday: jury duty, Monday: jury duty, Monday: jury duty . . .

This morning I wrote for an hour and a half or so. I’m always pretty drifty when I come out of the writing zone, and this morning I was in pretty deep. I turned on my laptop (I was writing in longhand). The familiar calendar gadget in the upper-right corner of the desktop said

January 2014

Saturday the 11th? It couldn’t be Saturday the 11th. Monday is the 14th. Yesterday must have been the 11th.

The computer must be wrong.

Ummm — no. Computers screw up, but they don’t screw up dates. When they start screwing up dates, we’re seriously screwed. Remember all that panic about impending Y2K?

jury notice 2Maybe my jury summons was for Monday, the 13th? I consulted the reminder notice, which I’d affixed to the fridge so I wouldn’t lose it or forget to fill out the form on the back. Nope: it was indeed the 14th. Note, however, that the notice didn’t specify the day of the week.

Maybe today was actually Friday?

Usually I’m at least dimly aware of the high school freshman next door getting off to school at an outrageously early hour, and of her younger, middle-school sister setting off at around 8:10. This morning I’d been too deep in the writing to notice much of anything.

My Vineyard Seadogs wall calendar agreed with the computer: it was Saturday the 11th. My little desk calendar, however, insisted that the 14th was a Monday, so if today was Saturday it had to be the 12th; if it was the 11th, it had to be Friday.


School buses (file photo — but you figured that out from the leaves on the trees, right?)

This was just too weird. Time to go for my morning walk with Travvy. Travvy doesn’t care what day it is. I could sort this out later.

Our walk took us past the West Tisbury School. Three of the four buses were in their regular places, but that didn’t prove anything. By 9:15 on a school day morning, they have finished their rounds and been back on the lot long since. Could it really be Friday?

No, it couldn’t. The school parking lot, filled to overflowing from Monday through Friday, was nearly empty. It was definitely Saturday.

By the time Trav and I got home, I’d realized that it was entirely possible that my summons was for Tuesday, January 14. I dug through a short stack of unfiled papers and found my original summons. Sure enough, it said TUESDAY, JANUARY 14.

My little desk calendar, however, was most definitely wrong. It benefits the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary and features lots of nice photos of Vineyard birds, all by Vineyard photographers. Maybe they could use a proofreader?

February and subsequent months seem to be OK. I’ve corrected January so I don’t screw myself up again.

January calendar, annotated

January calendar, annotated

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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2 Responses to What Day Is It?

  1. Sharon Stewart says:

    Wow! Did you let the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary know? An off-kilter calendar could have serious consequences (missing a plane, missing a court date, missing a wedding, missing a deadline…).


    • I did, but as I suspected, they already knew. They’d issued a press release about it and offered to replace the erroneous calendars. I did note that I’m an editor by trade and do occasional proofreading, so if they want a professional eye to take a look at their 2015 calendar . . . 🙂


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