iPhone therefore iAm?

Filofax, a long-lost friend

A plague on iPhone and its evil creators. I missed three birthdays last week and countless others over the past year. They weren’t saved into my phone calendar. And, by the time Facebook litters my inbox with coy little messages about the Friends I Have with Birthdays this Week, it’s too Facebooking-late to send them a card, seeing as half those people don’t live in the same hemisphere as me.

Actually, sometimes I wonder about that – friends being so far away… Perhaps it’s something I said. Except I’m the one who left. So it must be something they said.

The cards are the thing. Facebook is great for keeping you in touch with people who make you feel inadequate about your deadly social life and general lack of achievement, but it’s not like tearing open an envelope and giving it to the dog to chew while you get all teary over the carefully chosen, handwritten card inside.

So, I’ve been building bridges with my Filofax, which has sat for too long, silent and accusatory, at the bottom of my Mary Poppins bag (the hulking one you put your big stuff in, like too-ripe bananas, a takeaway container full of last night’s quinoa, a pair of shoes, humungous sunglasses case – why, Sunglass Shack, why?! – and five pens). My other bag is for the iPhone, mostly.

And if not in the bag, it’s shoved on the desk under a teetering pile of bills paid and pending, sundry photographs, shopping lists and unread Walkley magazines. The repository of all knowledge, tragically abandoned by its late-adopter, tech-cowed owner.

Despite the neglect, it’s a handsome beast, this Filofax, with its red faux crocodile skin – a Christmas or birthday gift from my husband a couple of years ago to replace the one he’d bought me when we first met. A little flashy for my tastes (the Filofax, not my husband, although he has his moments). I preferred the original – soft and supple from years of handling (again, I’m talking the Filofax here, not any multiplicity of husbands).

But this young interloper has heft. Boy, does it have heft – it weighs a bloody ton. And when I do actually get round to opening it, the little plastic ruler-cum-bookmark is always locked in about five weeks behind the week it should be on. I flick through pages of forgotten reminders. Six more friends to make it up to. Sigh.

I mean well. Every year, I buy a diary refill and rewrite all my significant dates – usually on the hottest day of summer, sitting inside in nought but a sarong and a pool of sweat, so most pages are puckered and dappled for the year with inky watermarks. Birthdays are emphasised with a sprightly slash of citrus highlighter; anniversaries of deaths more restrained – ‘RIP DAD, 16’.

‘Dentist, 9am’ or ‘Lochie, roots’ might get a different coloured pen, but I’m not wasting highlighter on those suckers.

After the copying is complete, the preceding year’s Week to a View insert is then placed in an envelope, which is then marked with the relevant year and added to the dozens of other similarly filled envelopes in my filing cabinet, there to never again be retrieved.

But handy just in case. Ah, what manner of postmodern poetics could I summon by dipping into that collection of everyday minutiae…

Anyhoo, the reason this leathery tome is taking up so much of my  valuable time right now (and yours, you poor, unsuspecting fools) is that I’m just two weeks away from having to hand back my work smartphone and sign up for one all of my own.

And, keeping in mind my now well-documented lack of tech-savitude, you will understand, dear blog beings, this preoccupation with matters Luddite. And why I’m feverishly copying everything that’s on my iPhone by hand into my Filofax in case I lose my entire, albeit inconsequential, life in the telephonic transition that is soon to befall me.

But all is not lost – I’ve recently discovered a light at the end of this dank tunnel – and its name is iCloud. Yay, verily, the iGods may be crazy, but at least they know how to make a silver lining.