Five years ago I stopped wearing a wrist watch. Several lines of thought informed my decision. No longer did I desire to hold time captive to my wrist. Strapping time onto my wrist seemed to shackle me to its passage. So accessible was my access to time data that I constantly checked on things. How long before my next meeting? How long until lunch? How much time has passed since breakfast. That sort of thing. It all felt like a countdown to an inevitable moment about which I had and continue to have no control regardless of how much time my wrist might tell me remains.
So I took off my wrist watch and put it in a drawer.
At first I yearned for time. I tried to remember which drawer contained my watch so I could sneak peeks at its dial. I became a nuisance to friends and strangers as I lifted their sleeves to determine whether or not they had time strapped to their wrists so I could get my urgently needed time of day fix. Gradually, though, I realized that since I was surrounded by time there was no real urgency to stock pile its accessibility. Time is everywhere. Everywhere we look we are reminded of its passage.
Besides, I always have my cell phone with me.
Today beyond my understanding or appreciation, my cell phone display changed time zones. For most of the day I lived as though I were in West Memphis, Arkansas. Having long ago completely forgotten at what time I'm supposed to arrive at work, I was only slightly alarmed when indications were that I pulled into the parking lot at ten this morning. That was late even by my standards. Throughout the entire day nothing much made sense and I couldn't determine whether I was late or early for meetings because they just never seemed to be happening at the time of my arrival. I ate lunch practically before I got to work. No one commented though I did get a few stares in the lunchroom. How terrific, I thought, that no one is using the microwave today. Hell, I could have cooked a pot roast in it and not one person would have been waiting for their turn.
I decided to finish up a few things and work a little late. When I left at my six in the evening I was astonished at the work ethic of my peers. They gave absolutely no indication that their day was even close to being over.
I went home anyway.
By this time I was so confused I thought we'd ended Wednesday instead of Tuesday. I sat down to watch Lost and looked at the time indicator on my cable box. Then I looked at my cell phone. As I was trying to reconcile the differences between the information provided by my cable box and that of my cell phone, the cell phone display corrected its little blip and set itself back two hours to Pacific Time.
I'm still not going to wear a wrist watch.
Why should I when I have days like today to prove that the marking of time is just our strange way of reminding ourselves that every moment, regardless of its zone, is precious.
I do wish, though, that while I was still in West Memphis I had stopped at that Cracker Barrel just this side of the Mississippi. A bunch of those little side dishes would have tasted pretty good. Especially after a day like today.