If you read this site during this prior summer, you know that I worked in the Science Center. My job during those three wonderful months was as an office assistance (read: secretary).
I had a very bad experience on the job my second day. My first day was Monday. Work started at 8 in the morning. This worked well the first day. I was motivated, happy, and ready to conquer my responsibilities. Seriously. I throttled my responsibilities that day.
The next day was horrible. I woke up in a cold sweat; my head bounced off my pillow. “Oh, no.” I was late by about AN HOUR. Horrible punishments ran through my mind. How could I make this up? What could I do to make this better? I felt terrible. How could I ever prove to Nancy that I was a good employee to be trusted and kept around?
As it turned out, Nancy was understanding. My hours were not yet defined, and I was allowed to come to work at 900 everyday instead of 800. Still, to protect against any sort of further lateness, I set my watch fast by five minutes.
Why? I did that because I went home for lunch everyday. I would come home, make my sad, little lunch, and then turn on FUSE TV to watch some quality music videos that weren’t retarded hip-hop “boob movies” or stoner-poser punk bands dancing like they had live wires attached to their genitalia. After eating my meal and watching my TV, I would sit and wait until I was able to go back to work. After a while, I began to fear being late. What if my hour took an hour and five minutes? If I set my watch ahead by five minutes, I would leave earlier and arrive there sooner.
It was the perfect plan until I learned that I had only to subtract five minutes to get the real time. Pretty soon those five minutes made no difference. My body had learned that 1200 actually meant 1155, and that was good enough for me. I was never late, but I was never scared, either. I had lost the fear.
Flash forward to fall. School is in session; leaves are falling; winter is panting like a horny 8th grader on his first date, trying to get into Autumn’s pants. It comes to that fateful day when we all must change the time pieces we carry to go backwards one hour. It is like we are denying inevitable march of time by forcing it to go back and relive that one hour it took from us. It is just as much a statement about man’s feelings on his own time limit on earth as it is a way to keep more sunlight around for longer.
This year, when that day rolled around, I, like so many others, went to go fool Mother Nature once more by making that number on the far left of my digital watch one digit smaller. To do this on my watch, you hold down the “Adjust” button, aptly named in that it adjusts the time. I push in and hold down the button. It’s supposed to take 1.5 seconds. One hour later, I still am not able to adjust time/date of watch.
I think back to my summer and where my watch has been. It makes sense that it got damaged along the way. Still, this is a disappointing outcome. Think of it. I am now unable to change my watch’s time or date. The date function only comes in handy after or during time travel, and I hung up those rocket boots years ago. The time factor is applicable at least twice a year, and maybe more depending on what sort of April Fool’s Joke you have planned.
I have a dilemma now. I can handle the time just fine, but it takes a bit longer. I now have to look at my watch, absorb the numbers, subtract one from the far left number while continuing to subtract the five from the right number. This is a quad step process. This takes years to get down cold. It’s like converting to military time except I subtract a little less than 12.
Being the owner of a watch bears with it some responsibilities. People count on you to give them the time in a clear, concise fashion. They don’t have time for you to derive the time. People continue to ask me the time. I look down at my watch and begin the process of figuring the time out. When I look back up to give it to them, they are gone. You know how embarrassing it is for a digital watch to take longer to get the time from than an analog one?
People usually think one of several things. One is that I’m obviously special ed and have never really learned to tell time. They begin to expect an answer like, “fifty o’clock and noon minutes.” Two is that I’m pretending to not know the time because I hate them. They expect an answer like, “it’s dork o’clock; good thing you asked.” Three is that they become afraid that my silence is a statement on the fact that time is relative not only amongst creatures on earth but amongst humans themselves. They expect an answer like, “is there really such a thing as time? Can we truly quantify that which holds different weights and breadths for each person, thing, and location?” There are not so many people like that, though.
I was getting better at it, though. I was getting faster on my calculation time. Pretty soon I was able to give the time in almost a timely fashion. I was so proud of myself. Last weekend, we went to the dome, my family and me. My sister was sitting there. She asked me what time it was. I started to tell her the whole story about my watch, the story you’ve just heard. I saw, “Look what happens when I hold down this button. It normally should -”
It worked. The button worked. I was able to set my time, after so long of not being able to, after so many tiring hours of beating my watch against the wall trying to dislodge whatever it was that was blocking my button. I suddenly felt like a huge idiot. I was actually only half-way done with my story to Molly, but I didn’t feel like finishing it.
Now my watch is set to the correct time, but I still hesitate. I glance at the watch, and I know that I don’t have to do any math to figure out what those numbers mean. I can look at them and know if/when I am late. But, for some reason, my life feels a bit emptier. I feel less useful, less unique. I’m sure I’ll get over this, though; all I need is time.