Wednesday, January 16, 2013

About Time

By Dr. Jeri Fink

Time. It's not what it used to be.
Old time didn't automatically (atomically) adjust to power failures, time zones and daylight savings. You had to set and wind regularly.
Time changed. One day my son gleefully 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."
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, it 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 tiny digital numbers without glasses. They were blurry lines floating atop wallpaper photos of my grandchildren. There were aps 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 two-step process: locate the iPhone and whip out the reading glasses. 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? Did I abandon them in the refrigerator between untouched low-fat and sugar-free snacks? Or were they among toys scattered by my staggering grandson when he wore my readers and played dizzy?
17-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 geezer fashionista?
I bought a watch to match every mood as well as every outfit. They came in flavors - Strawberry Jam, Dragon Fruit, Fresh Papaya and Berry Sorbet - all zero calories. What could be better? I began to hum my version of the 80s song:
So many watches, so little time. How can I choose?

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 Freud and metaphors.
Now I have a new problem. Everyone knows. I'm greeted with glares if I ask an innocent question like what time is it?  
No one will answer me.
Will you?

Dr. Jeri Fink is a proud geezer and the author of hundreds of articles and nineteen published books. Trees Cry For Rain, her latest book, is a gripping historical novel where the past crashes ruthlessly into the present. It can be purchased at and

Her new series, Broken, consists of five separate novels that follow dramatic, related paths from the Spanish Inquisition to modern times, including the psychopaths who lived in each era.

Visit Jeri at her website or email her at


................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care? Old philosophical questions from the band Chicago.

Kylie Frost said...

Cute story, Jeri. Times certainly are a changing.

J.B. DiNizo said...

Yes, times certainly are a changing, and I especially loved your part about vision. It is a sad day when I leave my glasses in any place other than their designated spot!My favorite watch is huge and has big numbers!

Liz Flaherty said...

I wear one watch. Can't give it up even though I have to squint to read it. I'm so boring!

Loved the post.

Margaret Mendel said...

Great post!! What fun you have with time!!