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A Simpler Time

Recently I asked some younger kids if they wore watches. “No need,” they said. “We’ve got cell phones.” And they’re not alone. Most folks simply glance at their phone, computer screen or cable box to find the time. But there are still those who get the time from wearing a watch.

I used to be one of them. But somewhere along the way I stopped wearing watches. Except when I’m on vacation. It may seem strange to wear a timepiece during a time that is, more or less, “no-time,” but I’m not counting down the minutes. I’m just conscious of utilizing every moment. Whether the time is spent cycling, buying “lahbstah” (that’s lobster for those non-Cape Codders) or seeing matinees on a rainy day, for me wearing a watch is a throwback to a time when life was simpler. A time when there were only a few TV channels, when kids played in the backyard all summer long and a time when I wore a clunky watch – almost as wide as my wrist – trying to emulate my dad.

A week into my annual Cape Cod “season” and there’s a tan line on my wrist. This tan-line reminds me I’m not on a time clock. I am my own time clock.

Last week, returning from a day trip to Woods Hole with my niece Paige, 10, and nephew Andrew, 7, I played for them my favorite songs, aiming to influence their musical tastes. When the Broadway song “A Way Back to Then” from the musical Title of Show came on, I turned up the volume. It’s a song about remembering being nine years old and fearless and trying to get that feeling back, something I know all too well. After the line, “Dancing in the backyard, Kool Aid mustache and butterfly wings, hearing Andrea McArdle sing from the hi fi in the den,” my niece Paige, without missing a beat, said, “Doesn’t she mean wifi?”

I laughed. With time passing quickly, a ticking watch may not bring you back to another time, but it just may bring you up to date in the present. And what a gift that can be.

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