Today a bought a new wristwatch...not a big deal of course, but it was the first one I bought in a long time, eleven years in fact. My old watch finally died, with a battery that was only supposed to last five years. It had a face lamp which I never used, so maybe that extended the battery life, but still, 11 years is quite a record! I somehow took for granted that I'd had it that long, until the day it stopped working....sometimes I get overly sentimental.
I've worn watches ever since I can remember, they're an integral part of my left wrist, and I've seldom been without one. When I was three, I wore a toy watch that came as a prize in a Trix cereal box. Remember those? When cereal actually came with prizes inside? Ooooh I loved those!...Anyway, this toy watch had the Trix Rabbit's ears as the hands, and you could move them around. I always checked the clock in the kitchen to see what time it was, and would move the hands accordingly. That's pretty much how I learned to tell time!
On my 5th birthday, I got a REAL watch...it was my prized possession. I remember going around telling everyone what time it was. My dad always asked me, "What time is it in New York? What time is it in Chicago?"...and that's how I learned about time zones, ha!
I had that watch for a few years, it was a Timex wind-up, and I hardly ever took it off. Since it was waterproof, I even took baths with it on. One weekend we went up to the cabin in the Santa Cruz Mts. along with my cousins, and Aunt Carmen and Uncle Joe. Those were fun outings, we would often go up there in the summer, and the parents would barbeque and drink beer and us kids would play and explore among the redwoods. We always pestered them to take us to Santa Cruz, to the Beach Boardwalk where we could ride the rides and go to the beach. So one Saturday my mom and Aunt Carmen took us. It was a fun day, and we had a picnic on the beach. My cousin Joe and I wanted to go in the water, so my mom said, "Danny you better take your watch off..." So I did and laid it on the towel. After romping in the surf, and some horseplay and throwing the frisbee, later on it was time to go, so we all packed up and left. In the backseat of the car I noticed the tan line on my wrist...My watch! It was gone...I must have left it in the sand...I was crushed, I didn't cry but I wanted to. Later that night at the cabin, when we were in our sleeping bags, I overheard my mom say, "Poor Danny, he lost his watch..." so I guess my despondency must have showed.
For my next birthday I got a new watch, and I swore I would never lose that one. It was another Timex and I kept that one all the way through high school, until one day it just stopped working. By that time, the new digital watches were coming out, the ones where you press a button and the digital readout would appear. I bought one of those at Radio Shack and at the time, I thought it was the coolest thing. I had a job at Great America, out in the parking lot, and the sun was so bright out there I had to cup my hands around it just to see what time it was. And the constant checking must have worn the battery out after less than a year, not to mention the thing was pretty inaccurate, about 5 minutes too fast every 24 hours.
After that I got a Casio watch, which are pretty accurate, it lasted about 3 years battery-wise, and then began a pattern to this day of wearing watches until the battery ran out. I went through quite a few of them, settling back on the analog face instead of the digital, because, well, it's so traditional...you can see what time it is looking at a clock, but you have to think for a second looking at a digital readout...it's only a fraction of a second, I know...but it's still pleasing to just see what time it is.
So in May of 1999 I bought another watch at Target, it had the right feel to it...and that's the one I had since then. There's been a lot of ups and downs since I've worn it, and it's gone through three different watchbands, but the thing just kept on going...when it finally died, I felt as though it had some sentimental value, so I got a replacement battery for it. But a few days later the second hand started ticking backwards! I must have gummed up the works when I replaced the battery...it was almost as if the watch was saying, "let me go..."
So I did...it's sitting in a drawer now, ticking ten seconds forward, then five seconds back...I don't have the heart to just throw it away, nor does it seem happy just existing in there.
Meanwhile, I got a new watch, it's very basic, but it's accurate...I had to walk by and 'visit' it a few times before I bought it..."are you gonna be my new watch?"...it's like buying a new pet. And it is kinda, a constant companion.
So it's here now, home on my wrist.