Infinite Appointments…

Because of my current career, I often feel like I’m split in two…two email addresses, two cell phones, two online calendars.

I like my Outlook calendar because when I print off pages,  it will leave gaps every free half hour for me to write in appointments. Then when someone calls or stops by, I can just scribble them in and go from there.

But, most of my work appointments (meetings, travel days, etc) get sent to the Groupwise calendar. Not so useful. I wind up retyping them individually into Outlook, and I find it to be a HUGE waste of time.

So, today I tried a little experiment–I took a series on my Groupwise calendar and tried to send it to my Outlook calendar.

Totally didn’t work.

Outlook wouldn’t let me accept the appointments, so I was back at square one.

I wondered if the opposite would work–what if I sent the Outlook appointment to my Groupwise calendar? So, I took a conference call appointment that happens once a week and sent it over to my Groupwise account.

Success! It showed up as many many appointments, but, in true Groupwise fashion, allowed me to accept the entire series of appointments. Yay-hooray, I was done.

Or so I thought.

Suddenly, my Outlook calendar started receiving endless numbers of acceptance notifications—one for every instance of the conference call.

As my inbox rapidly filled, I was suddenly struck by a sense of panic. I felt like I was on a sinking ship–unless I found a way to bail out the hundreds of acceptance emails, I was going to drown in short, little, self-inflicted notifications! Ahh!

Trying to lessen the effect, I quickly created a “Rule” to siphon the incoming emails directly to the trash bin of my Outlook email files. I had it catch every email from my Groupwise account with the title “Weekly Conference Call” and move them directly to the recycle bin. Then I could just click “delete all” and they would be gone forever.  By now, I had 214 unread emails in my inbox. I highlighted and deleted them in groups of 50, then began to relax. They’d all be deleted immediately–I wouldn’t have to sort through them to distinguish the non-legitimate email from the legitimate. Problem solved.

Then I checked the trash bin–388 unread emails. 388! I began to panic again. How long was this going to continue?

I furiously clicked on the my Outlook calendar.  I double checked the appointment I’d sent. Sure enough, under “Expiration date,” I had not put in an end time. Essentially, I had scheduled myself for a lifetime of conference calls. And Groupwise was going to make DARN sure that Outlook was aware of each and every one.

“Eventually” I thought to myself, “this HAS to end.” My computer must know that in a few decades time, I won’t be working here anymore–I certainly doubt anyone has kept a long standing conference call going for more than half a century!

Besides, doesn’t my computer realize that at some point, I will die?

Logically, I assumed that the computer would eventually stop sending notification emails, but what if it doesn’t? After all, with all the fixes they did for Y2K, who’s to say that the computer will not continue scheduling me for conference calls throughout the centuries? I checked the Outlook trash bin again–447 unread emails. I clicked the “delete forever button” and watched the trash bin slowly refill with my infinite appointment acceptance. I curiously clicked on one—May 22, 2017: Conference call: 10 a.m.–11 a.m. Phone # 1-800-555-5555: Passcode 123456#.

I imagined checking my email tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month—and finding appointment dates stretching far past my lifespan—January 23, 2146: Conference call: 10 a.m.–11 a.m.: Phone # 1-800-555-5555: Passcode 123456#.

March 4, 3176: Conference call: 10 a.m.–11 a.m.: Phone # 1-800-555-5555: Passcode 123456#.

I wondered if there would still be phones then, or if some other communication would have taken over. Would there be people in 3176? Would we have evolved to mind-reading? No–our society certainly doesn’t appear to be evolving that usefully. More realistically, would we have all moved over to teleconferencing holographically so we could pretend to be sitting at the same table?

As I pondered conference calls scheduled to the end of time, I checked my trash bin one last time: only 73 emails.

I waited: no more arrived.

Curious as to the cause of the abrupt halt, I went back to my Groupwise calendar. Staying in April, I clicked my way through the years: 2009, 2010, 2011…2016, 2017, 2018.

By late April, 2018, the conference calls had ceased. So, apparently, to my computer, the end of time is in 2018–or, at the very least, I’m off the hook after a mere 10 years of weekly conference calls.



  1. Queen Bee said,

    April 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Oh Flemmily, you have discovered your Purgatory. You will be in Conference Call Hell Level 3 for life. I don’t recall reading about that in Dante’s Inferno…

  2. flemmily said,

    April 16, 2008 at 10:26 am

    No…it’s far too modern a concept for Dante. He’s probably send conference callers to the 8th circle of hell–along with fraudulent advisors, flatterers, and the like.

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