Friday, July 31, 2009

"My watch"

The other night, when I was packing, someone asked me what it was that I was going to forget to pack, and which would therefore be the first thing I’d purchase upon arriving at my destination.

Turned out to be my watch -- a fact I discovered long-before reaching my destination, but, in fact, at the airport.

Just as I was entering the security line.

At around the time when I thought, “I have to take off my watch … shit.”

I’m extremely peeved to have forgotten my watch -- in part due to the long and sordid history I’ve had traveling with watches. (Battery died in London; wrist strap broke in San Francisco; “waterproof” watch did not live up to its name in Fiji.) And then it took (seemingly) weeks to figure out exactly which watch to buy as my new travel watch (which is 90% of the time, my everyday watch as well) and I actually got one I genuinely like. (Having been unable to find exactly all the features I was looking for in a watch small enough to fit on my girly little wrist, I actually split up my watch’s tasks between a kick-ass watch and a travel alarm clock. Concerned that the battery on the travel alarm clock might be on its last leg, I bought a new one before leaving. Did not think to remember the watch, though.)

So, no watch to take off at Security.

I thought, for a moment, that perhaps I could do without -- after all, the travel alarm clock is pretty small; I could carry it in my purse. Then I pictured myself opening up my purse, flipping open a clock, flipping it closed and putting it back every ten or so minutes when I’m on a shore excursion wanting to make it back to the ship in time. Ridiculous. (I’d do it with a pocket watch. I find that little snap that a pocket watch makes when you close its lid quite satisfying -- but the effect would be ruined with a 3 inch square block of plastic.)

So, I had a half hour (or thereabouts -- watchless, I could only guess) to find a suitable replacement on the other side of Security in Terminal 4.

To my surprise, I actually had two choices.

Neither, however, was the $20 cheap Timex for which I’d hoped.

One was the “Everything’s $10” kiosk (sort of like a Dollar Store, but with airport inflation) which had three whole shelves of watches in its costume jewelry section.

The other was the pricey trendy shop, which had watches running from $50 to $500.

I dithered. $50 is a lot to spend on a watch -- especially when I’ve already got a perfectly good watch at home (three, in fact). But would a $10 watch make it three weeks?

I went back to the $10 kiosk to find out. There was one watch there which was small and not entirely unattractive. It also was not ticking. I took a closer look at the shelf full of watches -- maybe 1/3 of the watches were actually running. It was as though you’d spend $10 on a cheap bracelet which looked like a watch, and it if happened to tell the time, well, hey, that was a bonus. (They’ll all be right twice a day, right?)

Resigned, I went back to the trendy store. Went right up to the employee and said, as firmly yet politely as I could, “What’s the cheapest watch in this store?”

It was, in fact, a $50 black Swatch.

I ultimately spent an extra $5 and bought a shiny red Swatch, on the theory that, if I bought the black one, it would never be used again as it is in no way superior to any of my three watches at home; but the red one had the advantage of being substantially redder than all of my watches, and I could conceivably wear it as an accessory with a red dress or something.

(Turns out, I did buy something from the $10 store, though. Having acquired a reasonably priced mp3 player, I’d refused to pay upwards of $20 for a plastic case for it. But it is awful small and prone to getting tossed about in my purse -- and I wouldn’t mind something for the headphones as well. Found a little leather double-zip coin purse thing which fits my purpose exactly.)

So … two things purchased at LAX. Next stop: Toronto International Airport.

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