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December 20, 2005

What time is it?


That's me and my dad when I was about six years old. That was in June, and I remember I was fascinated by his shiny wristwatch, and I loved it so much, and my dad tried to teach me how to tell time but I was a slow study. The concept of breaking a whole big day into tiny hours and seconds and so on was beyond my already crazy six-year-old mind.

That year for Christmas -- and for the next ten years or so -- my dad would buy me a lovely wristwatch, wrap it up and put it under the tree. Come Christmas morning, I'd wear it proudly for about four hours, whereupon it would promptly break. Dad was baffled the first year, suspicious the second, and downright accusatory the third. He quizzed me: "Are you washing your hands WHILE wearing the watch?" (Even then I was a handwasher. At age six, people.) "Did you take a bath with it on?" "Did you smash it? Step on it? Whack it on something?"

I have no idea what he thought I was doing to kill time (hah hah!! KILL time!!) but it irked him enough to stop buying me wristwatches. My parents accepted their fate as Cursed With A Daughter Who Is Oblivious To Time. And for the most part I bumbled along happily, unaware of time and not really very stressed out about it.

Then came junior high. In the 7th grade, Swatch watches were THE COOLEST THING EVER AND I WILL DIE IF I DO NOT HAVE THE PINK ONE THAT IS SCENTED I WILL DIE. DIE! NOW. Christmas rolled around that year, and I was all grown up, much more responsible, able to blind young children with my shiny new braces. So my dad caved in. Christmas brought with it a variety of acid-wash denim items and the pink Swatch Watch of my dreams.

But nothing had changed in the wristwatch department. My scented Swatch, much adored, ran smoothly for four hours tick-tock tick-tock, then silence. Death. It was a mystery. I cried.

My dad finally took me and my broken Swatch to a watch repair shop in Baton Rouge. The (possibly 800-year-old) repairman listened to my tale of tick-tock-woe, and for the first time in my life someone actually believed I was innocent of wristwatch endangerment. It was vindication! Ancient Cajun Watch Specialist assured us that he'd seen this rare phenomenon, before.

According to him, some people have a body chemistry which competes with the quartz movement of a watch. In some cases the body prolific wins and the timepiece just quits ticking.

While I wanted very much to sing "I told you so" to my disbelieving dad, I was slightly taken aback with my body's reluctance to embrace time. My inner clock had never really jived with the schedule I was supposed to be keeping.... could this be why? Was it my magnetic field? Was I impervious to man-made minutes? Was I somehow born outside of time constraints? Or had all that time of wristwatch-deprivation simply made me perpetually late?

And most importantly ... would I ever be able to wear a Swatch?

The answer, sadly, was No Way Jose. I killed every Swatch I ever loved. And I loved many. I gave up on watches about five years ago, after I accidentally killed a certain ex-husband's childhood Mickey Mouse watch. Whoops!

Today I got into work, and ya'll know I love my boss. I do. He's so cute, and he's kind, and he genuinely cares about his team. Which is why he hand-picked a beatiful new watch for each one of us. Engraved, even! It's such a thoughtful gift, and I adore it. Which is why I feel so bad about its impending death.

It's not my fault. Just ask my dad.
It's my ... magnetism.
Or something.

Posted by laurie at December 20, 2005 9:30 AM