Jun 18, 2005

Digital watches, blue watches and stuff

"There are of course many problems connected with life, of which some of the most popular are Why are people born? Why do they die? Why do they want to spend so much of the intervening time wearing digital watches?"

The above is a quote from the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. Adams (may he rest in peace) had a fascination with digital watches (as well as the fjords of Norway, and rightly so, but that's another matter). "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", or HHGTTG, started out as a radio play in 1978 on the BBC, when digital watches were all the rage - a new rage. The rage really took off in the 1980's, along with other late 70's inventions like the Sony Walkman.

Adams' wonder at the fascination with digital watches got me thinking. I tolerate glowing digits on clock radios, which I think is some kind of imprint thing, since clock radios in my experience have always had glowing digits. I find that I find clock radios with analog watch faces weird. But what goes around my wrist is the good old-fashioned analog type. A regular wristwatch with a regular clock face; nowadays without the claim of being a quartz watch, however (I suspect digital innards). I like hour hands and minute hands. Sometimes I let myself get completely distracted by the movement of the second hand. I also require, due to some sort of geometric dyslexia of mine (or whatever it is), dots and/or numbers on all 12 positions of the clock face or I cannot tell time. (For whatever reasons, I didn't learn to tell time until I was almost 9 years old.)

Another thing about watches is blue. The 70's was also an era of colored watch faces, and my grandma and grandpa gave me an adult watch with a dark blue face for my 14th birthday. I loved it! I had that watch for 7 years, then it became a casualty of a rip tide on a beach in Los Angeles. It was the end of an era, I realized. The final end of childhood. I bought a new, expensive watch; my mother offered to buy it for me, but I insisted on buying it myself. It was a good watch, and was carefully attached to a pipe while I showered aboard a passenger boat. I then forgot it and by the time I remembered, hours had passed and the watch was gone. I didn't bother reporting it. I believed it was the end of yet another era. Then followed a period of about a year of wearing no watch, an interesting "experiment" in itself until getting another watch as a gift. Incidents and coincidents gave me the belief that buying my own watches somehow jinxed them for me.

I believed this for quite a number of years, and so depended upon birthdays and Christmases for any new watch I may want or need. But one day, I decided that it was just superstition on my part, and broke my long-standing rule of never buying a watch for myself. The three watches I have since purchased all still work and are all still in my possession, after several years. (I think there's the end of another era in here somewhere.)

Min nye klokke/my new watchI bought a fourth watch for myself just a few days ago, which did trigger the past memory of associating self-purchased with loss. Adams' fascination with digital watches made me realize something: Of the shop's 6 stands with watches in them, only one featured digital watch faces. All the other stands and all the show cases had analog watch faces. Even several clock radios featured analog watch faces. I think it's safe to say that we no longer have a fascination for digital watches (there is an anti-technology trend these days, anyway). But my fascination with dark blue-faced watches still holds and made my newest purchase an easy decision, as you can see by the picture.

PS: I'm sure there's some astrology in here, a connection to the keeper of time Saturn (aka Chronos) and its related signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. You may remember that I have three (important) planets in Capricorn in my 1st house (personal self). In regards to watches, I see them as outer symbols and manifestations of my inner processes.

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