What's the time?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When I was 16, I got myself a watch that I wore every day for the best part of the next decade. It was a good watch – styled a little like a men’s watch, with a metal band – only girly. It was the one item of jewellery that I was obsessive about remembering to wear, because it helped me with my ridiculous and compulsive need to constantly know what the time was. If I forgot to put it on in the morning, I would spend the entire day glancing at my wrist in frustration, fighting with my deeply rooted psychological obsession with knowing the time.

When the watch stopped working a couple of years ago, I made the decision not to replace it. I figured the best way to break my obsessive tendency was to remove the item that fed the obsession. I thought that if I couldn’t constantly check the time, then eventually I would stop wanting to.

Sadly, the removal of my watch only led to a much more annoying habit. For the next three years, I irritated everyone around me by constantly asking the time, pulling out my phone to check the time, or leaving the room to find a clock. What can I say – crazy isn’t an easy thing to shake.

Lately things have been pretty hectic at work, and keeping track of the time has become essential for me so that I can remember to do important things like stop for lunch, or go home before the sun rises. So this weekend just past, I went out and bought myself a new watch.

I would have liked to buy a super expensive watch with all sorts of second and micro second counters. A precision watch that was so fantastic that I never had to remove it – even when I showered. A watch that could tell me the time in 15 different languages and was so smart that it could read my brainwaves and knew as soon as I began to wonder what the time was so that it could pipe up and tell me without me having to look.

Alas, a watch like this does not exist. And its closest relative would have set me back a month’s wages and been like carrying a small toaster around on my wrist. So instead, I decided to take baby steps towards easing my obsession. I bought myself a watch that while functional, is primarily decorative. Four simple lines on the face of the watch give me an approximation of the time, without letting me obsess over exactly what minute and fraction of a minute the time is. It doesn’t even glow in the dark. It’s basic. And it’s a start towards becoming a normal person without an obsession with the time.

Funnily enough, only time will tell if I can stand using a watch like a normal person, or if in a couple of months from now I’m lugging around a toaster on my wrist.


Post a Comment