I checked the time as I was getting onto the bus, walking up the steps of one of the rear entrances. I tried to check the time – I made the usual arm flick to free the watch from my sleeve and I felt the weight of my watch suddenly disappear. I felt around in my jacket sleeve and looked down at the aisle. I retraced my steps to the door. The steps were clear and I didn’t catch a glimpse of anything that might be my watch on the dark sidewalk behind the closing doors. The bus pulled away and I sat down in the seat just across from the doors. Before I could decide between heading back to the last bus stop to make a more thorough search and figuratively throwing up my hands, I saw my watch resting on the floor by my feet. I guess my wrist flick had pitched it clear across the width of the bus. I inspected it. One end of the wristband had freed itself from the watchface. The pin that held it in place was gone. I noted the time and put the watch away in my pocket.
[I’m reminded of an encounter at a hostel in the UK a few years ago. I said hello to a guy who’d just walked into the dormitory-style room – he was a Welsh/Italian teenager. He started to respond, but was distracted because his watch chose that moment to fly off his wrist and smashed itself against the floor. I helped him find all the pieces and gave him a Zip-Loc bag to keep them in. My greeting and his watch-breaking seemed linked; I feel sure that if I’d said hello at any other moment, his watch would have stayed intact on his wrist.]
I went to Rite-Aid this afternoon to look at watchbands. The band for my $30 watch was expensive enough that I decided to take a quick look at new watches. They were on sale at 40% off. The price was right, so I switched my attention to buying a watch.
The things I appreciate in a watch are:
- It should have a face clock. It shouldn’t be a digital watch.
- It shouldn’t have a metal band. Metal bands will catch on your arm hairs and pull them out. (I’ve never had a watch with a metal band, but somehow I know that this is true.)
- There should be a little window in the watchface with the day of the month showing through.
There were four watches that met these standards. One was the same model as my broken watch; I eliminated it first. I liked the nice crisp sans-serif numbers on another model, but decided against it. To the left of the day of the month window, there was a window that showed the day of the week, and for some reason I wasn’t comfortable with that. Of the remaining two watches, I chose the one that looked the least like my old watch. The design is clunky. The rim around the watch crystal is plastic instead of metal. The date showing through the little window is white on black – it’s barely readable.
I wear a clunky watch, which is fine, and I have broken watch in a drawer somewhere. That’s the state of things.