A few days ago I mentioned the Israeli writer Benny Barbash’s novel ‘My First Sony’, written about growing-up in the 1980’s and the Sony-Walkman generation.
As also mentioned, I never had a Sony, mine was an Aiwa, which I always thought cool until it began chewing-up and de-magnetising cassettes. (It was actually bought by Sony in 2002 – there is an irony).
I am however thinking about other memories, and, in my case, my first watch.
I was probably eight or nine at the time and it was one of those basic Casio’s that have a light and a button for the date. The kind that have recently become trendy again. Indeed, my son has one, which he bought off eBay for a few pounds;
As I grew, my interest in watches and time continued. Perhaps something to do with my introspective nature, tendency to mull over the past and worry about the future.
I have a database of watches in my head; from the first pedometer I had in 1988 which had a liquid very similar to Mercury (after I took it to bits) and my first Swatch – that was 1985, grey plastic; loud tick.
More recently I have bought Polar HRM’s – the first back in 2003 when I was running and most recently a Withings, now Nokia pedometer and HRM.
My current watch it an Adidas retro black just date, light and stop-watch.
All this talk of watches must make me seem obsessed; I wouldn’t go that far – I certainly have an affinity for time-pieces and any movie or book exploring time-travel is something I love (last year’s novel How to Stop Time by Matt Haig was a favourite).
My eye was caught by an article in the Mirror, or perhaps the Sun (as I was queuing to buy milk in a local shop)(ahem), about Michael Macintire’s hold-up with son in London where his £15,000 watch was stolen.
Mum, dad, Annie and co, if you are listening, I have never bought a fancy watch and have never quite understood the whole culture surrounding this (beyond the off-chance of being lost in the South American rain forest and being able to trade my Rolex for a passage home with a band of disenfranchised drug-dealers)(that’s a reference to Sandy Toksvig).
I have never bought an Apple watch, although I think I would love one – that too is probably a cost thing and a recent work event which put the nail in the coffin of future (at least for the time-being purchases) – I was ‘pulled-up’ for wearing my watch on the ward.
I know this sounds odd, but, where I work, there is a bit of an obsession with not wearing watches anywhere near patients.
This comes from a 2007 dictum from the then Labour government about ‘bare below the elbows’ – which most doctors listened-to and ignored, others were forced to making concessions.
The thesis being, if you are going to have clean, germ-free hands – one of the most cost-effective, indeed, effective, actions in 21st Century Healthcare, you should give them a good wash, all the way up to your elbows; hence, bare below the elbows. Tony Blair was the Prime Minister at the time (We’ve dropped his thoughts on WMD, but this thorny issue continues… I wonder why?) – anyway, you, me, most folk can see that this is not a bad thing; Ignaz Semmelweis was proving it to be the case back in the 1800’s (doctors killing more women than midwives);
When you look at the evidence for this, however, I mean, in relation to the bare-bit, it doesn’t exist. Indeed, person A who has a watch and person B who doesn’t, after washing their hands don’t have any different level of bacteria; (this is not talking about surgeons delving into your gederim (kishkes), but physicians like me, holding your hand).
Anyway, that is the rule and given the nature of healthcare in the UK, it is the way of the world (the reality, as far as I can see it, given the importance of timing and dating every written entry) (When was the last time anyone checked the dirt level of an NHS keyboard)(Oops, shouldn’t have said that – the snap response is sometimes a keyboard-condom rather than ‘clean the thing’ the former making touch-typing a nightmare)(when you do get to type, rather than write, which is a mixed-methods form of data collection, common in the health service).
So, for the time being I won’t be getting a new watch, until rules or circumstances change.
I remember as a kid, fascinated by the mercury in my watch (this was in Israel where perhaps they were less conscious of mercury poisoning than the UK), dreaming of a watch that would help me navigate the world, act as a communication device and store my thoughts. Alas, that is for tomorrow.
There I go again, drifting from the mindful moment into other times…