So I’ve started becoming a “watch person,” I think.
I like watches, especially mechanical ones that simply require a battery to show an analog time on their face. Can you remember learning how to tell time by tracking the position of a clock’s hands on the face, and how when it clicks, it seems to open a whole new world for you?
No, just me?
I’m not into knowing a lot about and studying their complications (a term that actually describes the inner mechanics), but the idea of not relying on something digital and/or web-based (like a cellphone, smartwatch, or the clock on your cable box) to keep time feels important to me, so over the past year or two I’ve made it a point to wear a watch to work. I’ve actually had a few watches for a while, nothing fancy (though one is, but I can’t wear it anymore because the band is too small, I took a segment out of it and I think I’ve somehow gained mass in my wrist?), but recently I got new bands and batteries for most of them. I got a watch as a gift a few years ago and started wearing it regularly, and another (again, nothing fancy or expensive) recently, so suddenly I find myself with options when I get dressed in the morning. Now I’m thinking of getting one of those cases that holds and displays them for my dresser, instead of just having them arbitrarily in the sock drawer, or next to my little thing of hair pomade.
An analog timekeeper makes me feel like I have at least one piece of somewhat reliable and repairable hardware that won’t run out of battery (by the end of the workday). I’m not a handyman-type, but I like reliable and simple tools. A watch is a simple tool that does one thing, three at the most. It tells time, and if you’re fancy, it can also tell you the date and keep time. And you don’t even always need it to be fancy to keep time, if you can count.
I like tools. Not necessarily the tools to fix things, though I’m slowly building my “toolbox,” the things I look to if I have to fix whatever around the house. Those we have, the power drill (which I hate but can use), a scraper for putty and glue, a hammer, some screwdrivers and wrenches. What I mean by tools are the things I rely on, almost every day, to do things just right, the way I like them.
- I like my boots, sturdy black leather, British-made, which (if they’re like the last pair that were like this), I can get almost fifteen years out of before I need to think about replacing them. Boots are important as far as I’m concerned, because it’s a sturdy shoe that if they fit right, you can do almost anything in.
- I like the Japanese kitchen knife I have, from a home set my wife gave me. It’s got a bunch of useful knives, but the general-purpose “santoku” style knife is the best. We cook a lot and I use it for almost everything, and I’ll probably be at a loss when I have to replace it.
- The multi-tool I carry in my day bag is also a perfect tool, because I’ve found myself needing to use it a lot more than I ever thought, especially the pliers built into it. You never know when you need pliers, apparently, moreso than you’d ever need a knife blade or a little saw.
- Unless we’re going on a date or I’m visiting my mother, I usually have a pen with me. My bag is full of them, and when we travel, a pen and notebook are key. I’m not actually picky about special types of notebooks and pens, not as much as I used to be, but ballpoint pens and Sharpie markers are essential as far as I’m concerned.
I didn’t grow up in a “tool” family, not in that way that we’d be really into gadgets and stuff. Even my hangman-inclined grandfather and fixit-type dad weren’t too into always carrying around a tool or knife on their belt, or anything like that. But they knew what they liked, what worked. My grandfather kept so many tools, about two full sets’ worth, in the basement in the boiler room/storage area. My dad would do simple but pretty decent fixes of stuff that needed to be fixed, sometimes with just whatever was on-hand, not worrying if it was the “right” tool.
Still, It’s nice to me, a hippy-dippy liberal academic guy who never wanted to be conventional masculine, to have the right tools around, or at the very least, know what he needed for that sort of stuff. It’s odd to think of yourself as someone whose into that sort of, not “worship” or “fetishization” of these sorts of accoutrements of masculinity, which they definitely can be. It’s more of an “appreciation” of them, of the way that they work and yeah, that they’re things everyone (not every “man”, but everyone) should try to have on them.
I think everyone should wear watches. Well…I think people shouldn’t necessarily be as reliant on a phone or a “smart watch,” which is just a cell phone on your wrist, to tell the time. The clock in my kitchen is analog and battery-powered, and the alarm clock in my bedroom isn’t some smart-clock thing synced to the wifi, it’s just a clock. Everyone should have a reliable pair of footwear that’s as durable and rugged as it is good-looking. Everyone should, at least to me, have a kitchen knife that’s sharp and they know how to use so they can make tasty food.
Everyone should have a tool they can rely on, that they can trust. It’s important to trust the people in your life, your loved ones and friends and family that you care for. But it’s also good to know that there’s a truth to holding something in your hands and knowing it’ll do what you need it to do, it’ll do it no matter what, and it’ll do it how you need it to be done. Keep your feet warm. Quickly fix a broken piece of furniture. Make a meal. Tell you when it’s time to get home to those loved ones.