I forgot my phone at work. I also forgot my watch, from when I took it off for a gym class. I take my watch off for classes because A, I don’t want it to get sweaty and gross, and B, there’s a clock in the classroom, and I can read its reflection in the mirror while flailing along in some semblance of what the instructor is doing.
I check the time a lot. Sometimes, I check the time immediately after having just checked the time, to confirm that the time I thought I read was, in fact, the time that it actually is. I only just switched from a waterproof sports-proof indestructible watch (one that allowed me to leave it on through showers, swimming, hiking, and whatever else) to one that actually looks good. It ticks. It ticks so softly that I only ever notice it when I am lying in bed at night, my left arm tucked just so, up near my ear. It’s a strangely soothing sound.
My dad got it years ago. One of his coworkers used to go to New York on a regular basis, and this guy got it into his head that my dad wanted a knock-off watch. My dad never wears a watch. Instead, he asks someone who has a watch something like this: “It’s about 10 to 8, right?”
The person who has a watch glances at their watch, looks suspiciously at my dad, and replies, “Yes.”
Because he’s always right. And he never wears a watch.
He has no idea where his coworker got the idea that he was desirous of a watch. He just thanked him politely and stuck the Swiss Fake in a drawer until a few months ago when I was bemoaning the fact that I wanted an analog watch, but hadn’t found one I liked enough to buy yet. Change the battery, set the time and date, and bam. I sleep to the soothing tick-tick-tick of a watch whose face glows in the dark, just in case I wake up enough to want to know what time it is, but not enough to put my glasses on and read the time on the alarm-clock-radio I’ve had since I was 10.
What’s this all about? Well, it sets the scene for last night, when I realized, after pulling Gwynn out of the car and while heading towards Sadie’s house, that I didn’t have the time. I looked around, as though expecting to suddenly find myself in the kind of small town with a clock tower that you can see from practically anywhere in town. The kind of clock tower that bongs on the hour and half-hour, so that even though I might not know the time, I would know roughly where, in time, I was.
I went on a walk anyways. We walked to the middle entrance of the creek valley, and headed north, to the furthest entrance. The dogs raced around the field like it was the most exciting place. I threw the ball a few times for them and lost myself in the complete happiness of two dogs running. We headed back to the middle entrance, and I pulled back my coat to look at my wrist. Oh. Right.
Well, the sky isn’t all that dark yet, and it is still winter, so that probably means… something. Too bad I have about as much of an internal clock as I do an internal compass.
It was light enough that I could go down to the south entrance through the woods without finding myself in absolute darkness. It was a beautiful evening – the creek valley is protected from the wind, no one was about, and the dogs were staying out of the stinky creek, but still having a great time sniffling and snuffling through the underbrush.
By the time I reached the south entrance, the moon was high and bright in the sky, a narrow crescent not quite at the first quarter, so sharply defined that you could see the shadows and texture of the moonscape. I seriously considered heading back through the park to the middle entrance, just to keep the walk going a bit longer. The waspish hum of three cyclists as they dart past me, ninja-like in the darkness dissuaded me. The path ended near the highway, so chances were good that I would see (or not see) them again on their way back down. Someone needs to give them the memo about having a light and having a bell, and how it’s the law, but I’d rather not have it emphasized by a bike-dog collision.
It was getting a bit colder, anyways, though, so I headed home.
The whole walk took a bit longer than two hours. If I’d known the time, chances are I’d have gone back up the way I came in.
There might just be something to the whole ‘living in the moment’ thing.