Watch, look and listen

For some reason I missed the memo on the anniversary of the wrist watch last year. These days, we simply call it a watch and don’t add any information about its location on a particular body part. But back in the day (1912 and earlier), watches lived in pockets or on broaches. Apparently, the watch worn on the wrist was designed for women and launched in 1912 as the ‘Wristlet’, which is now a term reserved for purses you can dangle from your wrist (maybe because your other hand is occupied with carrying your miniature dog in a designer purse and have no room for normal purse essentials). For this reason, as you can imagine, men were not very interested in emulating women’s fashion trends and were not going to ditch their watch fobs any time soon.

Until along came WW1, although we didn’t know it was WW1 at that point and instead called it the Great War (but probably only after the fact). But I digress. The ‘I told you so’ moment came when the men discovered that no one had time to be messing about in one’s pocket when time is of the essence, so they took their army issued pocket watches and attached them to their wrists using the 1920’s version of duct tape. And thus the 20th century watch was born.

I have no use for watches of any kind and function quite well without one. This is why:

• I doubt that the various WW1 enemies posted a schedule of planned incoming mortar shells and the timing of dawn and dusk were pretty evident to all. Also, there was no need to make sure not to miss the final MASH episode.

• I have about 10 clocks in my house, counting computers, phones, cellphones, stove, clock radios, and microwaves. That makes it pretty much impossible not to know what time it is. And if I am at yoga or the gym or out to dinner or otherwise on leisure time why do I need to know what time it is (except to know the spin class is almost over, except I already know that by way of the buckets of sweat).

• My cats are living, breathing clocks. This is not a particularly good thing. In a study that I hope to publish soon in the ‘Journal of Annoying Feline Behaviour’ (published every 15 minutes). I have observed there is a cat Witching Hour that occurs approximately one hour before full dawn. This requires letting cats out or letting them in (because the cat alarm clock will not be ignored), and also dealing with the remains of any nocturnal rodent foraging lest it be stepped on before the full light of morning (should I be awake enough to experience it).

• I admit there is some decorative value in watches. This is the classic folly of form over function. I have had many watches that have either passed into fashion faux pas (Swatch anyone?) or been lost along my journeys (Frankfurt airport – phone home please). But did I ever fail to be on time? No, no, a thousand times no.

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