Thursday, January 6, 2011

Has anyone seen my watch?

I have a LOT of watches. Dressy, casual, athletic, non-running...a LOT of watches. It's funny, because the only time I remember wearing a watch when I was younger was in middle school before cell phones were around (yes, in my middle school days they didn't have to ban cell phones because no one had them. But my god the enforcement of the beeper ban was INTENSE. Because obviously everyone who carries a beeper is a drug dealer. Apparently the many respectable positions in the mid-90s that required beepers escaped my school system. But I digress). In 7th grade I had this ridiculously large, black Timex Ironman watch, and I replaced the plastic band with a fabric, velcro dealy that wrapped around my wrist. And, along with several friendship bracelets fashioned during classes or after school while pouring over the latest Seventeen magazine, I never. took. it. off. Never. Showering, swimming, going out to a nice dinner for my birthday, you name it. I loved the awesome, faded, frayed look it adopted, which really complemented the color-coordinated bands on my braces and that spectacular t-shirt with the multicolored Friends logo paired with embroidered denim cut-offs and Timberland hiking boots.
However, it became, in a word, insufferable. All those months of dampness and sweat and dirt and nearness to skin, while totally accomplishing the look I was going for, made it impossible for me to comb my hair with my left hand or eat a sandwich with both hands or sleep with my hands near my face, for fear my nostrils might come within eight inches of that godforsaken band. I'm pretty sure over the summer my body decided to regenerate every layer of skin in one day just to rid itself of whatever was hanging on to that thing. To this day, whenever something smells strongly of dampness and mold and dirt and the socially outcast awkwardness of my pre-teen years, I immediately think of that watch band. Which is why once I got a cell phone at 16 and could use it to tell time, I'm pretty sure I swore to myself that I would never wear a watch again.

Of course, after high school when I started running and cycling, I started wearing a watch specifically for those activities. It's, like, REALLY inconvenient to have no idea how far away from home you are or how long you've been gone, especially once you start missing out on important classes or even more important daytime drinking binges with your friends (I'm totally kidding I never did that...). Over the years, I have acquired a ridiculous number of athletic watches...Nike, Timex and the newest addition, a Garmin (yes, I know it's not just a watch). The problem? I can never find them. They're always under my bed or in a gym bag or stuck on a shelf somewhere, because I am not good at putting things away where they belong. One that's routinely evading my grasp is a bright-orange Nike children's watch that has a daily alarm that I mistakenly set at some point in the three years since I bought it. The alarm went off regularly at 11:52 pm, usually just when I was crawling into bed or already dozing off, and I would think to myself "Oh. It's 11:52. Thanks little orange watch." Then we had the big ole time switch in the fall, and I'm sure you can see where this is going: it now goes off at 10:52 pm, because clearly not being able to find the watch precluded me from changing the time with the rest of the clocks in the house. Since then, sometimes when the alarm is going off, I seize my opportunity and follow the beeping and locate that little rascal. But it doesn't beep for very long and lately I just haven't cared enough to find it. With my Garmin lying uncharged since December, and my other standby Timex temporarily MIA, I went for a run yesterday with NO WATCH. It was sort of incredible. It was freeing, not knowing how fast I was moving or how many minutes away from the end of my run I was. I started to think that except on the most important of workout days, when my pace REALLY mattered, perhaps I would run watchless and free myself once again from the cage around my wrist (although this it was time more out of a sense of self-fulfillment than a desire for my friends and classmates to stop avoiding being in close quarters with my wrist...). I held onto that ideal all day yesterday, feeling confident and lauding myself for my bohemian decision-making style. Until 10:52 pm, when little orange watch beeped, and my relaxing-on-the-couch-pleased-with-myself self became my usual neurotic-flailing-about-the-apartment self, and I located the watch and plugged in my Garmin. Maybe next year.

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