29th Jan2007

My Life, In Watches

by Will

“But we’ve just lost the beat.”

I’ve always had a thing for watches. Carrie Bradshaw has her Manolo’s, and I’ve got whatever Fossil/Casio/Timex catches my eye. Sure, we’re talking low price points here, but that’s how I roll.

Now, as far back as I can remember, I was into watches. When I was 2, Mommy bought me a Ronald McDonald watch. I had some sort of tantrum, and destroyed in the foyer of our house. When she questioned me about it, all I could say was, “Well, he was fat, anyway.” She vowed not to buy me a new watch, but I had a Michael Jackson watch soon afterwards.

After Daddy died, I had a Knight Rider watch. Man, did I love that watch. If I remember correctly, it didn’t even tell time. It was fake and plastic, but it had a picture of K.I.T.T. inside, and that’s all I needed.

Recently, I’ve come to notice that I get new watches to signify new phases in my life. For some miraculous reason, it becomes “new watch time” whenever there’s a sort of shift in the things in my life. Now, sometimes “new watch time” is signalled by a dead battery. Let me let you in on a little secret: I don’t change watch batteries. I just buy a new watch. So far, the batteries have lasted for years, and they tend to die at just the right time.

In middle school, I had my Radio Shack calculator watch. Yup, I was THAT kid. But I loved that watch, with its calendar function and “deet-deet” alarm. I was a geek, but I didn’t care. At that point, I didn’t much care what people thought of me because I knew I was kind of weird and I was fine with that. I was my own best friend and I had my imagination to keep me company.

In high school, I went through several different watches, mainly because none of them really held much meaning for me. I was trying to settle on watches as I tried to figure out who I was. Honestly, though, high school was NOT this time of angst that people make it out to be. In all truth, I expected it to be like ‘Saved by the Bell”, and was disappointed when it was NOT like that. Either way, I didn’t have the growing pains of not being asked to dances, or learning to drive. Life is like the lottery: you’ve gotta be in it to win it, and I decided to sit it out. My high school weekends involved me watching tapes of pre-recorded TNBC while talking on the phone to my friends while they were out living their lives.

In college, I had 2 watches that come to mind. When I first went to school, I had this really bootleg musical watch that Mommy really pushed on me at City Place. Now, I liked the watch and all, but it had a big G clef on the face, and little notes for each hour. I was emerging from a few years playing piano, and it was pre-a cappella. If anything, I was in my musical theatre phase. The watch, though it sounds kinda gay, was actually nice. The downside, though, was that I felt a musical watch should PLAY music. It didn’t have a little song, so I felt gypped. Anyway, I got the watch and wore the HELL out of it. By Christmas (maybe 6 months after buying it), the band had worn off (thanks City Place!).

I came home for Christmas, and Mommy bought me a Relic watch from JC Penney. “Relic” was basically a generic “Fossil”, but it was a beautiful watch. Oddly enough, it had a blueish-green face which matched the stone in my class ring. It was like my accessories had been destined to be together. It’s funny because we HATE Penney’s, but sometimes what you’re looking for is where you least expect it. Anyway, I wore that watch for the rest of Cornell and through graduation. In fact, I wore it up until about 6 months ago.

Now, a few people might know this, but 2004 was pretty rough for me. In a LOT of ways. Hell, you can go back and read the archives. Sometimes, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Anyway, I was working at H&M and it’s a freaky place. It’s not simply retail, but instead it’s this weird, neo-hippy, bohemian enclave that happens to sell clothes. I decided , “Hey, I’m gonna ride this opportunity til the wheels fall off”, so I started crafting “H&M Will”. Part of that involved a Fossil leather cuff watch. Now, I never would’ve looked twice at the thing 4 years ago, but at this point, I felt it would complete the ensemble. Several returns, fitting room shifts, and gay bars later, I realized that I didn’t really like that world so much. Plus, I felt it was a lesson that I shouldn’t have traded up watches “before it was time”.

Unfortunately, while lost in the world of leather, my pretty, blueish Relic died on me. It died on me when I needed it most. I was working in the illustrious commercial real estate industry as the world’s worst telemarketer. I didn’t know how I got there, nor did I know how to get out. Everything was changing around me, but I felt stuck. And my accessories didn’t match anymore. The high school ring had given way to the Cornell ring. For some reason, I decided that I didn’t like the traditional A.D White ring and designed my own, with black onyx. It had always clashed with the pretty watch, but it went quite well with the leather cuff. And that didn’t sit right with me. I always wanted to have class, be a little GQ, but now I felt very “gloryhole”. And it didn’t help that I didn’t know what I wanted to be or how to get there.

Finally, prayers were answered, and “it was time”. Not only did I gain my emancipation, but I also fell into my dream industry: comics. As a brand manager, I would have to be a figurehead at cons and whatnot, and there’s a certain emphasis on appearance. Suddenly, I knew it was time to do something about the leather cuff. I wasn’t really that person anymore, nor did I want to be. Right before my birthday, I was looking through a magazine, and I fell in love. Right there, I saw a attractive, black Fossil with a diamond at 12 o’clock. No, re-read what I wrote: It was an attractive, black fossil with a diamond at 12 o’clock. For all of you English majors out there, that’s what you call metatext, so I’m not going to ruin your analysis. I had to have it, and actually bought it for myself before buying most of the presents I needed to buy for my family; hey, I’m an only child!

The watchband was actually too large, and I needed to take a few links out for it to fit better. Yesterday, I finally got around to getting the links taken out. It was at that time that I realized I hadn’t really tried the watch on. Sure, I’d sampled it, but what can you tell from that? I was left with the feeling that it was more beautiful, more attractive on paper than on my wrist. Sure, I could grow into it. As Mr. Humphries would say, “It’ll ride up with wear”. Either way, as I sit here typing this, I look down at my attractive, black Fossil with the Diamond at the top, and I wonder if it’s really for me. Maybe it was meant to stay on paper. I hope I don’t come to regret my new watch/phase of life. Regrets…that’s a topic we’ll revisit tomorrow.

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