A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I broke my watch, and since I’m some years over 40 and use my telephone for making telephone calls, I’ve spent most of the last couple of days absent-mindedly looking at my naked wrist and wondering “Where’d the time go?” And since I had no idea where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be doing at any particular moment, I took the opportunity to try to wrap my mind around the nature of time itself. (FYI, if you’re name isn’t Einstein, good luck with that one!) But I did come up with a few curious observations.
First of all, in the 21st century, trying to find somebody who will repair a watch is very much like looking for unicorns — everybody’s heard of them, but nobody actually knows where they’re at.
Furthermore, time is not a straight line, a circle, a square, or a polyhedron: time is a telescope. It expands and contracts and — depending on how you look at it — throws everything out of proportion.
For example, trying to find someone to fix your watch — when you’re still relatively certain such people exist — can devour most of a morning. YouTube videos alone can eat up several hours, taking you from how to replace a Bulova™ battery to how to build a Steam Punk Hourglass using chrome from a ’57 Chevy and black Alaskan sand.
On the other hand, trying to find someone to fix your watch — when you finally realize only mad dogs and Englishmen engage in that activity — is a heart-racing panic, reminiscent of the bomb scene in Goldfinger. This is because the last remaining Romanian repairman (it took you two days to find) is 86, and if you don’t get to him before the Grim Reaper does, your broken watch will remain accurate twice a day ’til the end of time. (Think about that.)
Plus, panic is contagious because the Romanian went out of business in 2003 and his great-nephew (who sells timepieces) laughed in your face when you showed him your watch. He told you to throw it away and buy a new one ’cause “There are some good sales on, right now.” And this made you remember that it’s American Thanksgiving on Thursday, Black Friday on Friday and — OMG! — it’s only a month ’til Christmas and you haven’t thought one thought about Christmas, and now you don’t even know what time it is and — crap — you are so-o-o-o screwed!
But most importantly, through it all, I discovered:
The difference between fixing a broken watch and buying a new one is an aristocratic Romanian with an attitude.
The difference between just buying a watch (which are rare as hen’s teeth) and buying an electronic device you wear on your wrist– that measures blood pressure, water pressure, air pressure and peer pressure– is about $300.00 — even on sale.
And the difference between Wednesday, November 23nd and getting sucked into Black Friday madness is a $50.00 Timex™, a stick-my-head-in-the-sand attitude towards Christmas and the overwhelming belief that I’ve got better things to do with my time than stand in line — like checking out Kijiji to see if anybody’s got some chrome off a ’57 Chevy