27 January, 2010

About Time Pieces

A few days ago my watch band broke. It’s an old self-winding Timex watch that I purchased about 30 years ago. It was a good value at around $30. Certainly the 'Twist-o-flex’ band has been changed many times, but the time peace survives. It still works great. I don’t wear it often, mostly when I’m working and then only to keep track of my set times. You have to wind it if not worn since it is the swinging motion of your wrist that keeps it going. In the still night you can hear it make a soft, hypnotic ‘bonging’.

Mom had a cuckoo clock on the dining room wall with two pine cone weights on chains that had to be hoisted each day. It was very attractive and sounded out the hours all through the night. A little door would open and the tiny bird would pop out, bob up and down while calling to the sound of a bell, then make a speedy retreat.

This is certainly a far cry from the ancient sun dial, a crude if effective method of keeping time. Imagine if you had to run outside periodically to know the hour, and then never at night.

I notice that when you carry a watch on your arm, you do just that… watch it. Sometimes people look to their clock when you pass in the hall. It’s a kind of safety behavior. If they are busy looking at the time they are not available to greet or engage you in conversation.

An aphorism of old states plainly: “A watched pot never boils.” This portends of course that your perception of time, in this instance while boiling water, expands because you’re waiting for the event. I think the same is true for the wearing of watches.

How slowly the day must pass when you constantly remind yourself of the hour. Why is everyone so concerned with monitoring time anyway? They say time is money. So I guess the hours of the day actually tick away at our financial future. Nature has already divided portions of the day into light and dark. Imitating Nature, the US Government has actually legislated changes in this natural rhythm of time, moving the clocks forward and back twice yearly… Daylight Savings Time.

Whatever happened to the pocket watch on a chain? It was an elegant affectation with a snap-to cover instead of a glass bezel. A vested suit would actually feature a ‘watch pocket’. Remember the ‘Dick Tracy’ watch? These days a time peace is likely to have many functions. Some are two inches wide and they call it a chronograph. These components feature everything from television remotes to alarms to calculators to daily planners; they are waterproof depth gauges and look like they could indeed receive HBO.

For many, a time piece is a true fashion statement. A ladies watch has somehow become so tiny it is near unreadable. Is this to say that a woman places less emphasis on time than a man? They do take longer to get ready than men and seem to enjoy having us wait!

Sometimes I think that numbers on the face of a clock are insufficient for the 21st century. What we really need is a clock with verbs on it. We’ll call it the verb watch! Wake, shower, eat, drive, drive, drive, work, break, work, lunch, drive … maybe put a little sex in there on the weekend.

It seems we’ve reached the end of these remarks, my how time flies.

Just out of curiosity, did you take time to stop and smell the roses today?