Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Jack, having you as a friend is a little bit like owning a pet disease."

This Tuesday I'd like to talk about a very valuable tool - the watch.  Actually, not so much the watch, more like punctuality.  Yesterday I missed my train twice.  That's a new record.  I'm careful to never plan on taking the "last train" so for me this was an inconvenience rather than an emergency, but it still ended up costing me quite a bit of time.  How did I miss the train?  I didn't use my watch correctly.

In real life I don't think watches are all that.  I went about for  three years without wearing one when I turned 25.  Not really a protest against aging, just that I had discovered the freedom of not wearing one after having mine smashed during a scuffle - one that I didn't replace for a month due to economic necessity and then never replaced because, well, it's nice to not have the pressure of time wearing on you constantly.

My children actually got me a replacement watch as a gift and I spent several weeks deciding whether or not I was going to put it on.  I did.  Now I'm a middle level bureaucrat courting an ulcer.  Go figure.  Actually, there's no ulcer that I'm aware of but thinking about getting an ulcer is very
My hair looked like that.
 stressful and ties my stomach in knots.  Gnots?  Okay, now I'm worried about something else.

Richard Dean Anderson said, in an interview with Reader's Digest which I read when his TV show was the thing, "When I come to a yellow light I floor it.  You never know what you might miss if you stop for the red light."  What did I miss out on by not making my train on time?  In the morning I missed out on 1/2 an hour's work.  Gee, not something I'd run a red light for (although many people cross from the train station to the office complex on red sending oncoming cars into a honky frenzy).  In the evening I actually had a seat and air conditioning that worked.  Again, not sure I came up second best.

I'm not sure that punctuality is over-rated, but there's a lot to be said for living on "island time".  I have a meeting on Thursday that I don't control and can't be late for.  Missing the train would be very bad.  I will need to be punctual to be successful.  But what about the other days?  If I'm so focused on looking at my watch that I don't see the world around me, how successful can I really be?  Am I being successful at the right things?

Now I'm thinking that instead of a watch, I should be talking about an alarm clock - you can ignore it when it's just sitting there, but when there's something important coming up, it will let you know.  I bet MacGyver could make an alarm clock from my watch, a strip of duct tape, and the whistle of the train I missed.

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