The Clock on My Arm


13 September 2005




It was mid morning when I realized that I did not have my wristwatch on my arm, a simple oversight or an indication of my pending day?  In this case, an indication of the day as I have been listless and worthless all day long.  Normally, my wristwatch is the next to the last thing I take off at night before bed, followed by my eye glasses and he second thing I put on every morning, right after my eye glasses or usually so.  I wonder if some people actually sleep with their wristwatches on?  Perhaps some people never take off their wristwatches until it breaks or needs a new battery.  I never take a shower with my wristwatch on or ever get my wristwatch wet but know many, many people pay no attention to not getting their wristwatches wet.  For people who never take off their wristwatch, is it because the watch is some sort of “Borg” skin integrated technology and the clicks of the watch are like the beats of their heart?


Wristwatch.  Believe it or not, I never owned a wristwatch until I was well into my 20’s and I started a regular job.  Never owned one as a kid or in high school or even college although if my parents were alive now, they would probably argue that they gave me a wristwatch as a child or while I was in high school but honestly do not remember any such watch.  In fact, what I do remember is being proud of the fact I did not wear a wristwatch.  I was no slave to time, the minutes, the hours, so precisely measured out.


Wristwatch.  Never thought much about them and expect most people today do not either. Everyone today has a wristwatch like they have shoes.  Wonder when a child today gets their first wristwatch these days, age 5 or 6?  Haven’t I seen McDonalds or some other fast food place give away a wristwatch in a meal designed for children?  Do think I know that long, long ago, mechanical clocks were very expensive to make and thus only available to the very wealthy.  Then along came actual personal watches, initially pocket watches I think, but again only for the very wealthy.  I suspect initially a pocket watch was some sort of status symbol but perhaps the wealthy actually had meetings to go to at a precise hour.  Which makes me wonder, without a clock or watch, way, way back, how did folks actually set up a meeting with others, was is sunset or sundown or high noon? Or was that one party of the group simply waited around for others, sometimes for invisible, hours?  And then came along railroads and train schedules and factories with “regular” hours and clocks and at last,  wall clocks got to be so inexpensive that I suspect most folks above the poverty level had one but still not a wristwatch.


In a curio cabinet here in our home among a first edition “Uncle Wiggly” book, a Nazi armband and an opium pipe from China are several pocket watches that are heirlooms from one grandfather or another. Seems funny today with watches and clocks everywhere and so cheap that a pocket watch would be considered an heirloom. Pocket watches, wonder why they came before wristwatches, could it be that it took some time to engineer a watch into a small enough package to be placed on a band wrapped around the wrist? 


“Timex.  Takes and licking and keeps on ticking,” an advertisement, which ran on television for years and years.  Wondered at the time if anyone made watches other than Timex.  Rolex?  Never heard of it until maybe 10 years ago and not sure how I learned of Rolex then.  Can’t swear it but willing to say my first wristwatch was a Timex.  Never owned a pocket watch other than those collected in the curio cabinet and they are not used.


My wristwatch is worn on my left arm although I am right handed.  Why?  Wonder if this true for everyone?  Do people who are left-handed wear their wristwatch on their right arm?


I wonder what it was like in the days before personal wristwatches?  Did the days go by more slowly?  And why do I wear one now regular like?  I am retired and do not keep regular hours but still, I look at my watch often during the day, judging how much time I have left to accomplish all I intended for the day.  Am I a slave to the tick of the watch or I a slave to myself and the wristwatch just a whip I use on myself to get the old donkey self-moving along?


Wonder if I could go several days now without wearing my wristwatch?  Wonder if I will wear it tomorrow? 


Oh, interesting to note that according to the Bible, it is a sin to pay any attention to days, years and time!



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