Planning gets a little pricey

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

In my next life I want to come back as a calendar maker, the CEO of some big company that puts papers printed with days of the month, of the year, together in leather bound books. Millions, I will make, because people like me will buy them because, like me, they cannot survive without a little book filled with days of the month to scribble in and depend on.

Apparently, there is good money to be made in calendars because in my search for a 2012 desk planner yesterday I couldn’t seem to find one for under $20. All I wanted was 12 months with a decent-sized blank square for each day in a book that won’t come apart halfway through February.

Not able to find exactly what I wanted, I left empty handed, even though I have an appointment on Jan. 19 and I need to write it down.

My friend Ann wants to come back as a trash man.

“A trash man?” I inquire, wondering if I’d heard her wrong.

“A trash man!” she exclaimed. “Wouldn’t it be fabulous?”

I’d heard right.

“You get to see all of the great stuff people throw away,” she explained, falling almost immediately into a trash-happy rendition of a time she was driving through her cousin’s neighborhood and came across a three-legged table leaning against a trash can.

“Just leaning against a hobo?” I interjected, slightly interested in her story of a hobbled, alley-dwelling table. She paused.

“Hobo? No, there wasn’t a man out there — just the table,” she said, falling immediately back to her reminiscence of how she stopped in the dusk of day, jumped out of her car, dragged the table across the alley and crammed it in her back seat. I would have been more appropriately impressed with her alley trolling adventure had I not been stuck on the hobo thing.

“Wait ... I didn’t mean a hobo like a man with a bandana and a stick. I meant a hobo like a trash can ... the big, green plastic trash can. Don’t you call it a hobo?” I asked.

“Uh ... no,” she answered. “I’ve never heard of a trash can called a hobo.” then she drawled on about how she took the table home and propped it up in her kitchen, where it still is today and, yes, it is a little lopsided but that doesn’t matter as long as you know not to put too much weight on one side, like she did one time with a bowl of hot butterbeans and, oh, (insert laugh here) how she regretted doing that because the whole thing tipped over and ...

She lost me at butterbeans.

“You really have never heard of a trash can being called a hobo?” I asked when she came out of her table trance. My interest piqued, I had to know if I had just dreamed that the big plastic trash can with wheels that you sit by the side of the road once a week can be called a hobo. She shook her head no.

“Have you ever heard of a frog sticker?” she asked and my mind drifted back to memories of a booth at a fall festival once that served alligator tail and frog legs on a stick. A frog sticker.

I was wrong.

“My granddaddy calls his pocketknift a frog sticker,” she said. “He can fix anything with his frog sticker.”

Well, well, well. The table had been turned. She didn’t know my hobo. I didn’t know her frog sticker.

I was oddly comforted.

Maybe her granddaddy could use his frog sticker to fix her whopsided table, the one she found out by the hobo in her cousin’s neighborhood. Next time I see her I think I’ll suggest that. But I’d better write it down.

I just hope it’s in 2011. Because if it’s in 2012, well then I’m out of luck.

In my next life I’m going to come back as a calendar maker.

Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.