Uayeb 2021

Ilana Schedules the Make

Uayeb is today and it’s Ilana’s turn to run the Make: Mexico City this year.

The Uayeb and the Tzolkein are one and the same these days, both being the day to decide how the distribution of the days for the coming year. They’re the gap day between the 28th of the last month of the year, El Decimotercero (Decí for short), and the 1st day of Enero of the next year. (Mexico moved to the Eastman calendar in 2015.)

Historicalists, like Ilana’s college roommate Madeinusa, liked to point out how “tzlokein” is a misnomer since, in ancient times, it was used as a secondary time keeping overlay. It distributed the days of the coming year on a holy cycle, laying atop the other calendar like a secondary cycle.

The modern tzolkein was one day, a holy day nonetheless.

Most don’t work on Uayeb/tzolkein. Nothing’s open. Shops are closed. The central business district stays quiet. Instead everyone flocks to the art and design district, stalls crowding the streets and open air food carts perfuming the air. The residential neighborhoods feel tired.

No one knows what tomorrow will be. It’s the only day of the entire Eastman 365 days where there’s any unpredictability.

Unfortunately for Ilana, Tzolkein puts conference organizers all on high alert. The good, competitive org’ers skip the morning’s festivities and instead sit glued to the tweet stream, waiting for news from the Central Time Committee. The real experts have subscriptions to the TimePlanner, have already seen all the different simulations of what each Day Distribution will do to the tightly packed year schedule, have made predictions of what the other, nearby org’ers will do if Uayeb is Tuesday this year.

If Uayeb is a Wednesday, Ilana’s not worried about the Olympics overlapping her days. If it’s a Friday, there’s a small possibility that the remaining dates overlap too heavily with wedding season.

The mailing lists had been setup last night, the last night of 2020, the twenty eighth day of the thirteenth month. Ilana was poised ready to send out electronic notices to their adherents and attendees, all one hundred thousand of them, advertising what day of the year they’ll be holding the country’s largest Make. If she picked the wrong day, she risked losing 40-60% of the normal attendee base to other, competing events. Two years ago, before the TimePlanner had been widely adopted, Make had had their attendance cut down to 40% of normal — they’d scheduled the first day of the conference as the same day as the Brazil-Mexico match up in the Round of 16. Bad luck, but also, bad Planning.

The Central Time Committee released the “day distribution” at 12 noon on Uayeb. Twelve hours of not knowing what day of the week it is. Twelve hours of not knowing what tomorrow would be. The workers all hope for a Friday Uayeb, for a three day weekend to start the year off auspiciously.

Ilana, a Planner, hoped for a Wednesday this year. All the PlanSims showed her getting the best budget and highest attendance if the year started with a Wednesday.

Ilana was running a risk by picking an earlier in the year date to hold Make on. There’s less competition but far less time to get organized if you picked something in February, but they were ready and six weeks to ship was fast but they’d get a great price on the conference venue and catering since things tended not to pick up until the last week of February and run straight steady through until December.

Noon struck. Her phone chimed. The Central Time Committee had released the randomly selected day distribution.

Today, Uayeb/Tzolkein, the first day of the year 2021 was officially a Sunday.

Tomorrow, January 1st, would be a Monday.

Ilana punched in the day into TimePlanner, refreshed the page, rechecked the now updating date stats, picked out the pre-drafted email, and then, trying to beat all the other Planners for the year of 2021, hit send.

12:02p.m. on Sunday, Uayeb 2021, an email arrived in the inbox of all Make:Mexico City’s subscribers. The conference was opening ticket purchases for the 2021 conference on February 25th.

$100, today, only, to reserve your spot.

The interior of the TWA Flight Center at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

Photo by Max Touhey