Four people asked me what I wanted for my birthday last week and I gave each of them the same answer, “A new Filofax.” All four of them said the same thing. “No, you don’t. Nobody wants a Filofax any more. It’s so old-fashioned. Don’t be ridiculous. iPhone.” My daughter Maia was the harshest. She simply said, “Oh, Mom! iPhone.” It made me feel old-fashioned. It made me feel old.
For the record, I have an iPhone but despite the fact that four assistants over the last three years have religiously promised to transfer all my names and phone numbers into my computer and my iPhone, it hasn’t quite happened yet. And I never seem to have the time.
But I like my Filofax (even though it does sort of look like a truck ran over it.) It feels like a friend. I like it that it has names and addresses and phone numbers hand-printed into it. (Arguably, a few of them are dead, but I’ve learned not to notice. And I can’t quite bring myself to cross the names out. That would seem too final.) I use it in meetings to take notes. Sometimes, I’ll have a thought in the car or a random sentence for something I’m working on and I’ll pull over and jot it down into my Filofax. There are a few haikus that will probably never be printed anywhere else. I can gauge from them how sad I was on a given day. (Haikus are usually sad. The more comedic ones have found their way into my computer.)
I like that it has a calendar, which I sometimes remember to write things on with a person’s name and an address and a phone number scribbled under it. I want to redo the address pages (because of those dead people and a few others who I don’t speak to any more.)
I solved it myself. I went to the old-fashioned stationery store in Brentwood on San Vicente, practically the last of its breed. I’m worried about them. It’s always empty in there. The woman who owns it spends a lot of time on an ancient computer playing solitaire, just in case you didn’t notice that there wasn’t a lot going on. And the young woman they hired made crooked Xerox copies for me the other day and I had to go to Staples to remake them because I didn’t want to make a scene. But they have a huge selection of Filofaxes and I bought a new one. And new address paper and, while I was at it, a calendar for 2010, and clean note paper for when I want to make notes. Now, I just have to talk Maia, who has perfect printing because I bought her (at this very same stationery store), a calligraphy book when she was five, into re-inputting the edited names and addresses by hand.