Friday, March 11, 2011

Watch Wrist Itch

What time is it?

Did you look at the bottom right-hand of your monitor? Your cell phone read-out? The nearest appliance or television? Okay, fine, so did I.

I own watches. I own watches I admire. One of them doesn't even need a new battery. But round about fifteen years ago, when Baby David's cloth-diaper-clad bum* habitually nestled into the crook of my arm in the ideal way to unlatch the band of my wristwatch every single time, I stopped wearing watches.
         * Yeah, I'm one of those parents. Are you surprised?

Not coincidentally, this was also about the time I got my first cell phone. (Old timey fun fact: cell phones were rare in the mid-nineties! Robert had a beeper so I could page him when I went into labor! New Mom Melanie was delighted to be able to drive on the freeway, coo at Baby David, and make phone calls at the same time! Safe!) And really, as nice, as handy, as fashion-statementy as watches are (what kind of Swatch did you have?), they're just not all that useful anymore.

But this isn't really about watches. (Remember to Spring Forward for DST this weekend.) It's about the fact that every time I think of the time, my wrist itches. It's that one spot, right in the center on the back, right where the fulcrum for the hands would be, if I were wearing a watch.

It's not a painful itch. It goes away pretty quickly (if I'm not writing a blog entry about time. Scratch, scratch.) It rarely leads to me staring at my wrist in some sort of a "three hairs past a freckle" state of mild confusion. (The freckle is on my right wrist.) But dagnabit, I haven't worn a watch - or bracelet, or anything - on my left wrist in over fifteen years. Not more than very occasionally, anyway. So why does it still throw this stupid psychosomatic blip at me when I think about time?

I suspect I'm not the only one. I also suspect that Baby David and his generation won't encounter this. It's one of those not-that-lamentable quirks of things lost to the newer folks. Rotary phone skills. Appointment television programs. Mixed tapes actually recorded on cassette tapes. With my smart phone in hand, I can accomplish everything those outmoded tasks were designed for - and more - simultaneously and in a fraction of the time.

(Augh! Time! Now my wrist itches again.)

Does your wrist itch, too?


  1. I have almost stopped wearing a watch - but I suppose I'll never stop looking at my wrist. As I see it now, DST or not, it is a hair past a freckle.

  2. I gave up watches over a decade ago...wresting control of my obsessive side, an irony not lost on me. But old models of thinking die hard. Recently I asked my video-producing son if the scenes I "stunt-drove" for ended up "on the cutting room floor". He gave me a "wtf?" look that told me our oldster metaphors are not welcome in his reality. Still, I can't help thinking of editing as a physical cutting away of chaff from the wheat, regardless of how modern tools make every act reversible. Thanks for the essay...I wonder what ways of living will be anachronistic monkeys on our children's backs when they get a bit older.