The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Running out of time

Does anybody really know what time it is
Does anybody really care
If so I can't imagine why
We've all got time enough to cry

[Chicago "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?"]

I am sitting here in front of the TV in the living room (where I spend way too much time) with my laptop on my lap, wondering if I have an idea for the next blog post when I spot an ad on the back of a Golf Digest magazine. It is for a lower forearm timepiece (aka "wristwatch"). A beautiful hunk of metal, electronics, and precision. For an unspecified, but probably exorbitant, price.

Do you wear a wristwatch? I don't. I never did for more than a few days and that was many, many years ago. There are a number of reasons why I never got in the habit. I just never really had the need for one. There are clocks everywhere; on walls, in my car, on cell phones, and on other people's wrists. Why should I also wear one?

The purpose of having a wristwatch is, I presume, so you can avoid being too late (and maybe too early) for appointments. But I have never had a problem making appointments on time. I just plan for them.

When I was young, wristwatches (as well as most clocks, some of those were electric) had to be wound. A few were "self-winding" which just meant that your arm movements caused tiny weights to move and thereby "wind" the watch or, more accurately, kept it wound. Battery powered watches and clocks came later. As a child, I definitely did not need a watch or even a clock. Shouts from my mother or father woke me up in the morning, told me when it was time to head for school, and when to come in for dinner or lunch. Bells in school told me when to be in class. The parents also made sure I got to doctor and dentist appointments on time.

When I enlisted, I found I had no need for watches or personal clocks. They woke me up (reveille), told me when to eat (mess call) and told me when to go to bed (taps). And, aboard ship, the ship's bell was rung each half hour with a set pattern repeated each four hours.

1 bell - 30 minutes after the hour
2 bells - first hour
3 bells - 30 minutes past first hour

and so on until you reached 8 bells which signified the end of the 4 hour cycle. If you had no idea if it was morning or afternoon, you might be confused. That was never a problem. In addition, there were clocks everywhere. I liked those clocks. Kept accurate by the quartermaster division, all were 24 hour as opposed to 12. I liked that form. It makes more sense to me than AM and PM.

I did use alarm clocks from the time I was about 12 and the responsibility for getting my butt out of bed in the morning was finally thrust on me. And I used them even in the Navy when I lived off base/ship. I hated them. Still do. They were electric because I still could not trust myself to wind them on a regular basis. I kept them on the dresser across the room from my bed so I had to get up to turn off the alarm. I have become disciplined enough now to trust myself to keep the alarm clock within arm's reach. Most of the time. My alarm clocks are not battery powered but do have battery backup.

I have a wall clock in the living room and both the kitchen stove and the microwave have clocks built in. The latter two annoy me when there's a power hit because neither has a battery back up. The wall clock is battery powered.

Twice a year, all clocks annoy me. Going to Daylight Savings Time and going back to Standard Time. At least the ones in the cars are easy to set forward and back. And the computers do it automatically.

But I am not ruled by clocks and that is part of why I never got in the habit of wearing a wristwatch. When I wore one, I felt under its control. A slave to time, if you will.

1 comment:

Sightings said...

I used to be fairly obsessive about time and wore a wristwatch until my mid-40s, when I learned not to wear a watch from my son, definitely a Type-B personality. He never cared what time it was, but seemed to make his daily rounds from school to baseball to band practice, and so I took my cue from him and have never regretted it.

First of all, my watch began to irritate my wrist (I later found out I had carpal tunnel syndrome) so losing the wristwatch helped my hand feel better. Then, like you say, there's a clock everywhere you go, and now of course we all have cellphones, so a watch now is really just a piece of jewelry ... and, as you suggest, a fairly demanding one at that.