Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Can I have the Time please?

Cell phones, computers, coffeemakers, cars (or may be even my niece's fancy new pencil box)... and pretty much everything under the sun, seem to have a clock embedded in them.

Still, there are times, I would really love, to be able to sneak a sly glance at my (nonexistent) wristwatch.

When someone really nice (or important) is boring me (to death). Opening my handbag and scrambling for my cellphone, to check the time, just doesn't do the trick.

A friend is late for dinner and I decide to sneak in a trip to a wonderful used bookstore. There I find Buddha (!!), right in the middle of all the Astroboys, in the manga comic section (which needless to say, is in the basement-with-no-wall-clocks. Isn't that the exact place where bookstore owners would want weird comic readers shoved away, while the important looking readers come by, looking for latin/greek classics...?) Just as I am done scanning through the first few volumes, I realize, I have no idea how long I have been in that basement. Of course, my cell phone switched off (I am a civilized person in a bookstore, remember?).

I am on a trail. Many a times, I am drawn to go on, longer than I had intended to. Either by the wonderful little wild flowers or the humming birds. Suddenly, I realize, I have to walk back 6 miles. 6 long miles to civilization (and my car). There is no way of finding out what the time is. How long before the sun will set? Will I be all alone in the wilderness, in the dark.

I am chatting with someone, sipping some awesome hot chocolate, while taking (what was supposed to be) a short 15-minute break. Just about the time, when we have start discussing Gael Garcia Bernal, and both of us have no clue how we got there (considering, the conversation started with Sourav Ganguly and the state of indian cricket). Then, I wish I could check the time.

"To wear a quality watch and feel its weight; to know it is carved out of blocks of steel, not squeezed out of plastic, is deeply reassuring." - Sunday Independent

And I know, I am not alone.


Falstaff said...

Nice. Personally I can't abide wrist-watches any more. It feels so good not to be handcuffed to time, not to have that tell-tale little band of paler skin around your wrist that proclaims you to be Time's prisoner.

Ginsberg writes:

"who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
fell on their heads every day for the next decade"

I am not alone, either.

Veena said...

Nice. I really can't think of going back to my wrist watch days but guess its just habit(as I anyway keep looking at my cellphone every 5 mts).

And dudette, how come every conversation with you somehow ends in some Gael Garcia Bernal discussion?!

Veena said...

And btw, forgot to mention - I am in the Golden State for some random business meeting - thought abt pushing the mtng to end of the week so that I could come up North but didn't work out. Back to the windy city today.

And ofcourse, too lazy to go to mail client and type email :)

The Black Mamba said...

falstaff & veena :

Band of paler skin - glad to have left those days behind too.

But lately, I have realized that there are some pleasures of being a prisoner (of time). Without a watch, I feel like an adolescent. Happy to have gained this new freedom, but also unsure and confused. What am I to do with my freedom?

To me a wristwatch is like Linus' blanket. When I have a watch, I am safe. I can always depend on it to tell me the time. I can just live my life. And everything can wait, until its the next hour or half hour. without a watch, how do I extended my indulgences in 5-minute increments?

Lately I have noticed that, only a handful of my friends own watches. And far fewer actually wear them. Are watches the new hats (or handkerchiefs)? Then again, baseball caps (and kleenex) have replaced those. And people are still very much the prisoners of time. May be they just don't want to admit it?


Bernal... you need an explanation? really? Well, I am not that shallow either. I still do talk about Feynman and Torvalds. Ok, only occasionally. :)

Too bad, would have been nice to meet up. but will hopefully be in the windy city sometime soon :)