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The Daily Tar Heel

Satire: I just hired Google Calendar as my new assistant

Photo: UNC’s Carolina Computing Initiative to offer Mac laptops (Bailey Seitter)
In Sociology 101, students type notes on their Thinkpad and Mac laptops. Beginning next year, the university will sell MacBook Pros as a part of the CCI program. girl pictured: freshman sociology major Erin Hancock

I haven’t seen my friend in weeks. I’ve texted her about every other day, trying to set up a lunch date or study session, and I always get the same response: “Let me check my calendar.” A few minutes later, the answer is a resounding no. 

But I kept at it, like the determined, nagging friend I am, and finally, she found a 45-minute window to grab some coffee. It was supposed to be a quick time to laugh and catch up on the mediocre things happening in our lives. 

But when I walked into the cafe, I noticed that my friend was not alone. No, she was accompanied by her laptop and phone, both screens displaying an overwhelming grid of colors and times — the telltale design of Google Calendar. 

Of course, I’ve used Google Calendar before, typically for exam dates, the occasional doctor’s appointment and other events that I can’t afford to miss.

I can easily remember my class schedule. I go to the gym when I feel like it. My job has a separate website where I can view everyone’s shifts. Other than a few hastily scribbled reminders, I only open up my Google Calendar when I forget what day it is.

But she seems to be on a whole other level, a different plane of existence. She’s the CEO of time, which is the most valuable currency amidst the bustling, on-the-go landscape that is college, and I am but an unpaid intern desperately trying to reconnect. 

“Hey, how have you been?” I asked, disregarding the fact that she didn’t look up and continued to tap away on her phone. 

“Really busy,” she replied, her head gesturing to the monstrosity on her laptop that started to make me feel nauseous. “But this helps me manage. You should use it.”

I shifted uncomfortably, sipping my now-lukewarm coffee. I started to feel self-conscious, and decided if she was going to spend the rest of the time we had together looking at Google Calendar, so would I. 

I just didn’t know where to start. My competitive subconscious demanded that I make my schedule just as pretty as hers, so I looked up, “Google Calendar aesthetic.” A million hits pop up. 

Themes, images, emojis, color coding, weather forecasts and moon phases filled my vision. You can even enable “time insights” to see exactly how many minutes you spend meeting with people. I scrolled through blog after blog, and the possibilities grew even more endless. I couldn’t control the grin that started to blossom on my face. 

The whine of the espresso machine and murmurs of other students gradually faded into nothingness until it was just me and my computer, which was quickly filling up with all sorts of personalized reminders and layouts. Gone was the chaos of being a student, employee and hopeful socialite. Together, my beloved calendar and I unlocked the secrets of the universe. 

Soon, every minute of the next few weeks is accounted for. I decided that tonight I’d brush my teeth from 11:30 to 11:32 p.m., finish washing my face at 11:36, spend one minute putting my toiletries away and then scroll on TikTok until 12:05. I even scheduled time for more scheduling. Soon I’d be like my friend, ensconced high up on the totem pole of productivity. 

But as we sat across from one another, both lost in the entrancing cosmos of Google Calendar, I felt something missing. I tried to remember my old self, the one who reveled in spontaneity, wondering what was coming next. Which is a better way to live? Should I venture through days that were meticulously planned weeks prior, or allow my impulsiveness to reign free?

Too entrenched in the lifestyle to keep pondering the question, we parted ways, and I couldn’t believe I used to think my friend had an obsession. I made sure to pencil in a time to send her a thank-you text to tell her how she helped me acquire a digital shield against all mayhem in my life. Plus, I’ll never miss a doctor’s appointment again. 

@dthopinion | opinion@dailytarheel.com

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