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August 27, 2009

watches and a sense of time

I've been having trouble with watches lately. 


Back in July, my trusty metal sports watch gave up the ghost. I waffled for a while, not sure of what kind of watch I should get as a replacement, and as a stopgap, I wore my dress watch. The problem was, I don't treat my watches very well - I tend to wear them everywhere - in the pool, the shower, while working out, biking, walking, gardening, etc. All which is totally ok if you have a waterproof sports watch (more on that later) but not ok if you have a classic leather banded dress watch that is modestly water resistant at best. That poor dress watch went into the shower about 17 times before I finally got the hang of taking it off before bathing. Swimming required more creativity - there is no outdoor clock at my stripped down neighbor hood pool, so I resorted to bringing my cellphone in a snack-size ziploc baggie and every so often stopping my swim to punch a few buttons to bring the time back up on the screen. Not ideal.

One day I forgot to put my dress watch back on after showering and felt so naked and disoriented at work that I went out and bought a perfectly fine utilitarian waterproof-to-100ft sports watch at my local sporting goods store. That was July 28th. All was right with the universe until August 14th when condensation appeared in the watch face, and the 16th when it died on my wrist.

I'd only used it as the manufacturer had suggested - done a triathlon, done some swimming, running, etc so I was mystified about what happened to it. So I packed it off to Timex once I got home from vacation and reluctantly switched back to my dress watch. Until two days ago, when the watch band broke.

So now, I'm totally watchless. (Note: I will eventually replace the watchband, but the local jeweler is charging $40-$50 for a band and I can't bear to pay that much for a skinny strip of leather.)

And I hate it.

I know that some advice guru types who advocate life simplification tell readers to banish their watches for a more relaxing life, but I find the opposite is true. Without access to a readily available timepiece, I'm constantly edgy with a low-grade anxiety that I'm late for something. What time is it, I keep wondering, but each quick glance at my left wrist yields only freckles. Of course, I have things around me that can tell me the time (computer, cell phone) but neither of those things is always readily accessible. Being without a watch makes hyper-aware and constantly vigilant about the time, and always worried about lateness. With a watch, I have the reassurance that I can always know the time if I need to - like insurance, and maybe some mothers, it's always there when you need it. My little temporal security blanket.

I've been surprised by how violently I dislike watchlessness. So the question becomes, how do I remedy? the sports watch is off at Timex, due back (maybe?) in 3 or 4 weeks. I can order an affordable watch band online, with presumably I'll get in about a week. Or I can take the ancient (and frankly extremely cool) watch I had as a child (red band, with a red prop airplane on the face - clearly purchased for me when I was about 6 from the Air and Space Museum) and get the battery replaced. Still not sure which route I'll go, but I've got to do something. And soon.

August 27, 2009 at 09:48 AM | Permalink

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