I remember anticipating the day when my parents said I was responsible enough to have a watch. Wearing a watch was something adults did and when a kid wore one, the child seemed to get more respect and was taken more seriously since it showed they were more mature than their peers.
It must have been when I was 8 or 9 that I got my first one. Mainly so I could be at the bus stop when needed to get to summer day camp on time. I have worn one every day of my life since then.
However, my own children are a different story altogether. I bought them watches but they refused to wear them! When they were missing buses and then calling me for a ride, or coming home with the line “I didn’t know what time it was”, or I started hearing how they were always late to things, I insisted they wear them. Still they would not. None of their friends wore watches either.
Two of them finally did start carrying the watch in their pocket. This just astonished me. I thought we had taken a step backwards to give up the “modern convenience of a wristwatch” to the days of the pocket watch. So I bought another one a pocket watch which was used for a brief period. It did not hold up like a common cheap wristwatch did and soon broke.
Then the days of smaller, cheaper cell phones came about. Now the day that they were told they were responsible enough to have their own cell, became the day they anticipated as much as I had my first watch. My kids have asked me why I still wore a watch when I had a cell phone with me all the time.
One is just habit. The only time I took it off was to take a shower, and occasionally not even then. But it was also the only way I could prove I was tan. Sounds weird, I know but I am SO pale that even though I was tanned quite dark, in comparison to everyone else, no one believed me. So I would whip off my watch and show them. Even now, on December 1st, you can see a slight difference in color where my watch band was.
Was. Yup. I quit wearing a watch after more than 40 years. I don’t remember when even. Just one day last month, after I took my shower, I never put it back on. It has slowly dawned on me that whenever I am waiting for an event to start, or to see if I am justified in being mad because a store didn’t open on time, I wouldn’t look at my watch – I would check my phone. Satellite time. Something everyone has to agree is the “right” time.
The old joke that goes, man with one clock always know what time it is, while man with more than one, never quite sure, is a very true statement. For years, I have worked at www.sewexpo.com where the hostesses of each seminar are responsible to start and stop the class on time. But this was a bit of a problem. It seemed that each hostess was using their watch to do this and they were all slightly “off” from each other so the classes were not starting and stopping together. To solve this, a large clock was brought in and as volunteers signed in for their shift, they were to reset their watches to match that clock. What we came to refer to as “Expo Time”. I can’t remember when we did away with that, but it has been several years because now all but a few hostesses carry cell phones.
So where does this leave the future of watches? The new commercials running for the holiday buying season are still advertising watches. However, they are the über expensive ones. Status symbols only, since they are both unnecessary and impractical.
I would never consider wearing one of those. My watches cost between 99¢ (that one lasted the longest) and $39 (the most expensive one I ever bought). They had more functions than the more expensive ones, even though I almost never used those features, I wanted to feel I was getting value for my money. And the cheap ones were far more practical for someone who only took it off once a day. Mine were always very beat up and scratched and since most cost me around $10, I didn’t care. They could be easily replaced when they got so bad I couldn’t read them anymore.
I guess this means that I will probably never wear a watch again. I certainly would never buy another one. Once, cash register had a spot for 50¢ pieces, but not for a long time since no one uses them anymore. So I think it is fitting to throw my watch in the drawer with my last 50¢ coin. Maybe when my kids get to be my age it will be worth something as a curiosity.