I might be a watch collector. That would be one way to explain this cigar box of mostly old timepieces.
The thing about wristwatches is that nobody really needs one. They may soon be as unfashionable as pocket watches with fobs and gold chains on waistcoats. Today we get more reliable and accurate time on smartphones, computers, car dashboards, and nearly every appliance in our homes. We are fairly bombarded with time. Time — down to the millisecond — is money in a rapid-fire society of digital communications, overnight delivery, and instant gratification.
But time is more than that.
I like living in this digital age and I’m always striving to keep up with the technology. However, I was forced into a new relationship with time eight years ago, when a near-fatal airplane crash changed my life. It was traumatic, but thanks to some great people all I lost was my right leg and most of the use of my right arm. I’m not complaining. I have a good life. But it is a different life. For one thing I was instantly retired from working on the water, which had been my occupation for forty years. The baseline job description for professional mariners is “Able Bodied Seaman,” and I’m now a useless klutz on a boat.
But what a wonderful gift I was given. Suddenly I had time to teach myself how to write books, and I’m pleased to say that I’m working on number eight now, and they seem to be getting better. I can’t do a lot of things I used to do, but I can still fly my airplane. More than anything, I don’t don’t feel that I must cram some activity into every minute of the day; I can read a book, or take a nap, or sit on a rock and ponder the ever-changing immensity of the sea and the sky and not feel the least bit guilty that I’m “wasting” time.
That is why I’m always looking for another used watch. I like wearing time on my wrist, even if it is an old Tissot chronometer model where some of the inner dials don’t work very well. This week, to celebrate the new time I’ve been allotted I splurged on the first brand new watch I’ve bought in many years, a Swiss-made Alpina Startimer. It probably doesn’t tell time any better than a thirty-dollar Timex, but I like it. On the tenth anniversary of my new timeline I might even part with the big bucks to get a well-used Omega Speedmaster three-register manually wound. Assuming that I’m still here, that is. After all, time is life.