I am sitting in a still room, borrowing a moment to inhale the serenity that seems to float in the air like a cloud of fog, and listening to the silence. Listening closely, I notice that the silence, an absence of apparent sound, is its own symphony; it is an orchestration that is being kept alive by a carefully beating drum. I concentrate on the drum’s beats, observing that its rhythm is steadily and confidently throbbing. When glancing, I make a discovery and erupt with laughter. At this moment, precisely 1:43 PM, I realize that the incessant pulsation is not the tempo of tranquility, but rather the ticking of my watch. A small, thin, golden band strapped to my wrist, the watch is a living creature; it has a face, hands, a heartbeat. It has its own mechanized mind, a willpower to keep ticking at the same pace despite the circumstances; some of the more durable watches even tick under water. Within each brisk movement of the second-hand, a human has laughed, some have shed tears, one is gripped by death, and yet another is being given the gift of life.
Just like the individuals who comprise the human race, these curious creatures come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own beauty. My watch, an example of those delicate timepieces fastened with a band of gold or silver, resembles a bracelet. Yet, there are watches with thicker straps; some with leather, plastic, and even bands of bulky cloth; watches with bold heavy-set numerals; timepieces with only dots or diamond-shaped accents to represent the twelve hours; as well as the contemporary digital watch. Despite the endless assortment of watches, each serves the very same purpose: creating a framework in which those who ride the roller coaster of modernized life must run their days.
Living in an era that challenges me to play a variety of roles and perform a frenzied and stressful juggling act as a one-man show, the watch fulfills the place of my stage director, acting as a guide, symbolizing order, and all too often telling me what to do. As I satisfy the obligations of a family member, friend, worker, learner, and citizen, the directions the arrows point on my watch dictate the amount of attention devoted to each of my demanding activities. My daily life rests on the foundation of routine and scheduling, both elements that are policed by the peculiar device that happens to be fastened around my lower left arm, just over the area where a nurse might take my pulse.
It is uncommon for me to see someone who does not wear a watch and is unable to know the correct time as he or she accomplishes the day’s tasks. It certainly seems as though nearly every individual walks around with a watch strapped to his or her wrist like a handcuff, carrying it wherever he or she may go so that it is always handy for a quick and unexpected reference. It is extremely difficult for me contemplate the times when a watch was not an aspect of my physical identity and I believe that it is equally challenging...