As I waited under the Bryant Park tents in New York in September for designers to present their spring 2008 collections, I watched posh merchandise buyers, boutique owners, and magazine editors check their next appointments and respond to e-mails on BlackBerrys and Treos.
Not me. I was stuck with the candy-apple-red, Filofax knockoff I bought two years ago from Staples, hoping it would catapult me into organizational nirvana. It spends more time on my couch than in my purse.
So now as we slip into 2008, I'm in a quandary. On one hand, I'm dying to go electronic. It's trendy and so urban professional. I kept my cell phone account with AT&T and bought an iBook last year so when the new year rolled around, I'd be ready to take part in the easy-touch iPhone world.
But every time I get ready to take my planning online, I stop short. Pulling out a slim calendar and writing things down always looks classy - and, these days, original. It's not subject to the "whoops, it's gone" scenario, thanks to a careless keyboard stroke or worse, a pocket with a hole in it.
"You are not the only one with such a dilemma," said Sharon Laudenbach, president of Robinson Luggage. While sales of old-fashioned daybooks have dropped over the last decade, Laudenbach has fielded more requests recently from women seeking fashionable calendars.
"People are using PDAs to keep up with their lives, but they still want to write it all down, so they buy a calendar they can carry," she said.
Jen Groover, designer of the Butler Bag, was "BlackBerry dependent" up until a year ago, when her 'Berry blitzed and she was left in New York unaware of her next appointment.
"I was swinging on the pendulum, but that episode made me come back over," said Groover, 34, of Swarthmore. "It was so scary. I didn't know where I was supposed to go, or what street I was supposed to be on."
Tina Wells, 27, keeps her life on her iPhone, which syncs up to her iBook.
"I love it, it makes my life so much easier," the New Jersey-based teen marketing expert gushed.
"But what if you lose it?" I asked.
"You can't," she said. "It's in two places."
"Well, how often do you have to sync it up?" I pressed.
"I sync up about once a week. Usually before I go to New York. . . . I've been all-electronic since August. Up until then, I never had a successful sync."
At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I'm leaning toward the leather-bound daybook. There is something about writing things down that feels more permanent to me (which means I may have a shot at actually remembering my appointment).
I also use my daybook as a journal of sorts. I keep them from year to year to document doctor's appointments, car maintenance, weird dates and so on.
And there is something about pulling out an electronic device and scrolling through it while people are talking that seems insincere. Or is that just me?
Nope, said Honore McDonough Ervin, author of
The Etiquette Grrls: The Things You Need to Be Told
(Berkley, 2001). She carries a Kate Spade calendar with a Waterman pen and pencil set.
"People are just so into these devices, they pull them out when they are talking to you and drop eye contact. I find it annoying," said Ervin, 32, who lives in Massachusetts.
"We call that Thor behavior. The height of rudeness, and usually it's not their fault - it's because their device is taking too long to load."
But then I wondered about space. I never carried a fashionable calendar, mainly because the lines didn't hold enough information. Where would I keep my to-do list? Is it possible to be fashionable and write big and clearly?
Carolyn Brandhorst, owner of the Papery in Old City, said daybooks are getting thinner and trendier. This season, calendars are popping with fashion colors, from metallic to pink to cerulean.
One book, the Mom Agenda, is set up to record both mom and kid events, with a ribbon placeholder. Then there's the Quo Vadis Academic Blue Planner, which is thin and allows one to look at a week with a glance (maybe I'll choose that one).
So what to do? Maybe my year on paper doesn't really need to start in January.
I'll give myself until February - when Fashion Week rolls around again - to figure it all out.