Opinion: Better early than never


I called my friend Auri, a computer geek, and asked him to help me with my successful website, which currently is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a day Facebooking, tweeting and updating your blog. This means cutting yourself off from the outside world. But that’s the price you pay for being social.

Auri and I decided to meet in a few days for coffee. I wrote the time and date on my trusty mini legal pad. Then I put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror where I know I’ll see it several times the night before. This system seldom fails, although one day I accidentally grabbed a list from the previous day and started repeating everything on it. I’m glad I have an honest barber.

Auri and I chose the following Tuesday, at 9 a.m., at Starbucks.  Auri entered this on his Google calendar, which automatically synched to my AOL calendar, telling me the time and location of the appointment. I don’t like it when other people tell me where to go — but that also was happening way before computers.

Right after our call, a “meeting alert” appeared on my computer screen. The message came with a selection of colors to distinguish it from other appointments on my calendar, except I didn’t have any. Brown seemed appropriate for java, but something more festive felt right. I went with red.

The following morning, I got an “Invitation Update.” Auri wanted to change our Tuesday breakfast from 9 to 8:30 a.m. I agreed to the new time, adding that I was changing the color of our meeting from red to green. Although I’m sure this didn’t matter to Auri, the Dept. of Homeland Security was probably relieved.

The update included a link to MapQuest, informing me how long it would take to get there from my house, which was either 3 minutes away, 4 minutes away, 7 minutes away or 8 minutes away, depending on which nearby Starbucks I was going to.

On Tuesday morning, I got another cellphone alert that my meeting was in an hour. Then, at 8:15, I was dinged again, warning that I only had 15 minutes. I rushed out the door, afraid that if I were late, news of my tardiness would go viral.

I reached Starbucks at 8:25. Auri hadn’t arrived yet. I waited. And waited. I called his cellphone just before 9 a.m. He answered right away.

“Auri, where are you? I’m at Starbucks on 82nd,” I said.

He responded, “Oh, my gosh, was that today?”