Time. It’s not what it used to be.
Particularly this time of year. Time becomes more intrusive as we approach that day when we stay up late, watch a silly clock slide down a building, and celebrate with champagne in tacky plastic glasses. To make matters worse, we have to change the year in checks, bills, and calendars that have run out of time.
Let’s be real. Most of us don’t even like to think about time. It moves too quickly. A minute at age 20 lasted a lot longer than a minute at age 50 – not to mention 60, 70, or 80. Today there are too many kinds of time like Father Time, family time, tea time, party time, and time warps.
Time flies, drags, and gets in our way.
Old time was a lot different. Clocks and watches didn’t automatically (atomically) adjust to power failures, time zones, and daylight savings. You had to set and wind regularly or you lost time.
It all changed. One day my son announced that he was “done” with time. He exchanged a collection of corny birthday and graduation wrist watches for his iPhone.
“For now on,” he grinned, yanking his phone from his pocket like a switch blade in West Side Story, “I only tell time from my cell.” It became a bit more difficult when smartphones swelled to mammoth sizes but that didn’t stop him. He bought pants with bigger pockets.
He invited me to join the next generation. I didn’t dare confess that I liked clunky tick-tocks. Me – old fashioned? I stopped wearing watches on my wrist, around my neck, and on pinky rings. Secretly, cell phone time felt retro – a return to the ancient days of pocket watches. It reminded me of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date
Low-tech problems with iPhone time-keeping began immediately. I couldn’t see the tiny digital numbers without glasses. They were blurry lines floating atop wallpaper photos of my grandchildren. There were apps that had larger numbers but I couldn’t make out the icons on the home page. The truth was chilling. I needed reading glasses to tell time.
Time became a three-step process: locate the iPhone, whip out the reading glasses, and announce the hour, minute, and second. Of course we all know that reading glasses disappear like socks in a washing machine. Where did I leave them? Were they cowering beneath pages from the crazed psychopath in my latest book? Were they among toys scattered by my staggering grandson when he wore my readers and played dizzy? Did I abandon them in the refrigerator between untouched low-fat and sugar-free snacks?
Finally, 20-year old Shari intervened.
“A watch,” she said sagely, “isn’t about time anymore. It’s a fashion statement.”
That’s when I fell off the fashion cliff.
I didn’t need glasses to tell time on those “fashionable” old-fashioned faces. There were no buttons to push, dim digital numbers, or iPhones to locate. It was real time.
My first “fashion statement” was a large purple device called an “Ice Watch.” It came in a plastic cube with endless potential.
I had to have one in pink as well.
“Try Swatch watch,” Shari advised. “You can match every outfit.”
I took her suggestion. The moment I walked into the Swatch store I was hooked. Who knew I had the soul of a fashionista?
I bought a watch to match every mood as well as every outfit. They came in flavors like Strawberry Jam, Orange Tiger, and Old-fashioned Licorice Candy – all zero calories and readable faces. What could be better?
I bought a watch case to store my rapidly growing collection. I bought a second watch case. I waved my fashion statements in front of envious eyes, languishing in timely heaven. And I ignored those nasty remarks about metaphors and too much time.
Then the smart watch was born.
How many things can you wear on two wrists? The smart watch calls to me like chocolate chip cookies on a rainy day. How can I refuse? How can I not refuse? Worst of all, I have to put on glasses to check time, emails, texts, and the latest news – back to hide-and-go-seek readers.
Funny how little time changes.
Now, everyone knows about my watches – smart ones or pretty ones. I’m greeted with glares if I ask an innocent question like what time is it?
No one will answer me.
The truth rears its ugly head. Timing is everything.
Editor’s Notes: You can visit contributor Dr. Jeri Fink at her website,HauntedFamilyTrees.com. She believes “after fifty” is a creative, exciting time to grow and explore new ideas, places, and media – defying those creaky myths of aging. A recent project –Broken – is a seven-book series of thrillers that involves all ages, from baby boomers to new adults. She tells us: “I challenged the art of storytelling by merging fact, fiction, and photography into riveting, bestselling novels. It emerges from my work as a Family Therapist; expertise in family psychology and history; research into psychopaths and The Psychopathic Spectrum; and passion in photography and photo analysis. My 28 published books, hundreds of articles and blogs, speaking engagements around the country, and active online presence all reflect my many life experiences.”
Subscribe to her e-mail lists on photo insights and haunted family trees; read her blogs ranging from photo analysis, psychopaths, facts about who we are, and inside the author’s head. Visit www.hauntedfamilytrees.com where you’ll read cutting-edge psychology; discover the secrets of haunted family trees – from the infamous to your own; and experience photo insights at their best. Share her life-changing expeditions to places like Antarctica and the Arctic on scribd.com (all completed after turning 60). She and her husband of 46 years absolutely cherish their four grandchildren, along with a pair of very rambunctious dogs.