Most of us have a junk drawer in our kitchen that accumulates all the bits and pieces of our lives that don’t fit anywhere else; the scissors and tape, the paper clips, the loose change, the Chapstick, the button to some unknown shirt, the key to some unknown lock, a single shoe lace and the flashlight without a battery. I have a drawer like this and I have cupboard like this, too, with cups full of foreign coins from countries I may visit again, eye glasses with out-of-date prescriptions, all the takeout menus I’ll ever need, and my Hello Kitty Pez dispenser which is just too cute to throw away.
Lurking in this cupboard is a calendar with a rip-off page for each day, introducing a new French word to learn. I was inspired to buy this some indeterminate number of years ago and persevered with my French language learning until January 9th, if one can be said to persevere for nine days, before relegating it to the back of the junk cupboard.
Some fleeting thought had me pull it out of the cupboard this morning and begin flipping through it. Enchanté! (Pleased to meet you!) screams Saturday, January 9th, as if chastising me for ignoring it for so long.
Perhaps, I should resurrect my haphazard commitment to learn French and move onto January 10th? Allons-y! (Let’s go!) Sunday, January 10th encouragingly suggests.
There is no year noted on my long-ignored calendar and I begin to wonder what year I bought it and if the days and dates will align with the days and dates of 2016. Flipping to my 2016 calendar, I see that January 9th is indeed a Saturday. Is it possible that I have ignored my French calendar for just the right number of years that it is again correctly aligned with the days and dates of the upcoming year? This seems improbable.
How many years have to pass for the calendar to repeat itself? There’s a question worthy of an answer. A little internet sleuthing tells me that one must go back to 1988 before the calendar coincides exactly with 2016. (You can find it here: Repeating Calendar Years) Is it possible that this has been in my junk cupboard since 1988? That’s 28 years. Surely, I can’t be that much of a procrastinating pack-rat.
I was feeling quite depressed about my lack of commitment to learning French and to cleaning out my cupboards of useless things until I decided to see what day of the week my birthday will fall this coming year. October 14, 2016 falls on a Friday, but it falls on a Thursday in my French calendar. How can that be? There must be a flaw in my logic somewhere. 2016 is a Leap Year but not in my French calendar. One only needs to go back to 2010 for the January’s to align. Thank goodness. I am not nearly as bad as I thought. I’ve only had this calendar cluttering my cupboard for six years, not 28. Now I feel so much better about myself.
So what to do with this calendar? Shall I study it until March 1st comes along and that nasty February 29th, 2016 intercedes and gets the days and dates misaligned again? Shall I ignore the calendar completely until 2021, when 2010 will repeat itself? Shall I ignore all this day and date business entirely and just push through one day at a time? Or more realistically, should I recognize the fact that if in six years, I have only managed to make it through nine days of my French calendar, it doesn’t really matter what I plan, I’m not likely to follow through with my plan and do much of anything anyways?
Perhaps I will ponder what my plan should be until Saturday, January 9th, 2016, when my French calendar will again be pleased to meet me! Enchanté!
P.S. If you have been patiently reading this, wondering how it relates to my tag line “Seeing the World by Bike”, I have to confess that it doesn’t unless you consider that I have ridden my bike in France and well, they speak French in France. (It’s sort of like Sarah Palin saying she understands U.S. foreign policy because she can see Russia from her kitchen window, though not quite as big a stretch in logic.) Regardless of its loosely aligned theme with cycling, I hope you have enjoyed reading this piece and are inspired to inspect your junk cupboard.