My Goddam WatchSubmitted by ryandonovan at 2003-04-28 23:46:04 EDT
Rating: 1.07 on 28 ratings (28 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
MY GODDAM WATCH
I have a watch. It's a nice watch. A real watch, not a digital one. My girlfriend gave it to me as a gift. In no way do I intend to suggest that the watch wasn't a great gift. But the watch is annoying and I might just smash it to pieces with a hammer.
On the face of the watch, there is a little window that displays the day of the month. It's handy. However, the watch is not smart enough to know what month it is. It assumes all months have 31 days. When there are 31 days in the month, the watch is perfect. Love that watch. But when it gets to the end of a month with fewer than 31 days, I have to turn the minute hand on the watch ahead 24 (or more) hours, to get it to advance to Day 1 of the next month.
I've seen watches where you can pull the stem out another notch, and simply adjust the month with one turn. My watch doesn't do that. I have to crank the stem through all the minutes until the day advances. Which, all things considered, isn't much of a fuss when I only need to advance it one day. Most months are no big deal.
For some reason that probably makes sense to most educated people, but makes absolutely no sense to me, February usually has 28 days (except for the random 1-in-4 chance that it has 29 days, which seems to occur in the same years that there are Summer Olympics and a presidential election). At the end of February, I have to advance the watch multiple days - 3 or 2, depending on whether the inaccuracy of the Atomic Clock and the gradual expansion of the solar system need to be accounted for.
This past February had 28 days. So on March 1, I had to advance the watch 72 hours to get the date correct again. The process of twisting the stem that many hours takes about 5 minutes. In a quest for efficiency, I read a couple emails while cranking the watch ahead. And predictably, not paying enough attention to the cranking, I went too far. I advanced to Day 2, one day in the future.
This would be no sort of headache for most watches, because you could simply wind the stem the other direction, and move back to Day 1 (then again, most watches that can handle this task can probably also handle the task of knowing how many days are in each month). But my watch only allows the day to be moved forward, not backward (again, this is something that probably makes sense to most educated people, but makes absolutely no sense to me).
So now I had a few options:
1. Advance the watch ahead 43,200 minutes (approximately 2160 stem revolutions), to get it back to Day 1.
2. Pull out the stem for a day, preventing the watch from keeping time, and resume use of the watch the next day, when it would correctly display Day 2.
3. Do nothing.
Options 1 and 2 seemed foolish to me. Option 3 seemed much better. I counted my knuckles and figured out that March has 30 days. So I just needed to live with the watch on the wrong day for one month. On March 30, the watch would show Day 31. And on April 1, the watch would advance to Day 1 on its own, back in sync with reality. This solution probably makes no sense to most educated people, but made perfect sense to me.
I woke up on April 1, and with great anticipation, checked the date on my watch. Imagine my horror upon seeing the date still incorrect, now on Day 2. Assuming I was the butt of a cruel April Fool's prank at the hands of my roommate, I snuck into the fridge and farted into his bag of bagels and quickly sealed it, trapping my fumes and soiling his breakfast. That seemed like fair retribution.
Later in the day, I figured out that I had made a knuckle-counting error, and that there were in fact 31 days in March. Thus there was not a slack day for my watch to use up, and it stayed on the incorrect day all on its own.
After buying my roommate some new bagels, I decided to re-evaluate my options for correcting the date on the watch. My options were the same (I was pretty sure that April had only 30 days, unless someone had ripped April 31 out of my day planner as part of a different, more deeply-planted April Fool's goof). But now there was added complexity. Through the month of March, I had trained myself to know that my watch was one day ahead. The calculation to figure out which day it actually was had become automatic in my head. By correcting the date on the watch, I would have to re-train myself to NOT subtract 1 from the date on the watch to arrive at the actual calendar date. Considering that my Pavlovian conditioning of auto-subtraction took about two weeks, I would need another two weeks to STOP mentally subtracting. But on the other hand, it didn't seem sane to keep the watch one day ahead for the rest of eternity. It was a big decision, so I decided to defer it until I had some time to mull it over and weigh pros versus cons.
Driving home from work that day, feeling a bit spontaneous (and bored from the hour-long commute and a bummer of a second Boston song on the radio's Two-For-Tuesday), I removed my watch and began advancing the minutes, automatic-mental-subtraction-of-one-day be damned.
After a few minutes, the adrenaline rush of liberation wore off, and tedium set in. After realizing I couldn't afford to use both hands to fiddle with the watch (partly because it took some deft knee-steering skills to narrowly avoid a collision with a Passat and partly because I needed one hand to throw up metal while rocking out to a particularly engaging duo of Def Leppard tunes), I set the watch down. I had managed to advance 12 days on the watch's date.
That was nearly a month ago. Since then, I have been either too busy or too tired to advance the watch's date any further. So now the situation is much worse that I could have ever imagined. Currently the watch is off by so many days that I have NO idea what day it actually is (it is much harder to mentally subtract by 13 than it is to subtract by 1, especially now that the watch has gone past 31 and is back in the low numbers, and the calculation would require two-part subtraction and I think even some addition, plus remembering how many days are in the month of April). Any of the other options would have worked out much better. Even my original plan of doing nothing would have panned out, because it is nearly the end of April, and on May 1, I am almost positive the date would have corrected itself. But I won't have the date corrected by May 1, so instead, it will still be 13 days off (or is it only 12, since April has 30 days?). Or if I simply had the willpower to twist the stem for about 20 minutes, I could resolve the whole thing. In fact, had I decided to work on the watch instead of writing all this down, my problem would be solved.
So right after I finish this, instead of correcting the watch, I am going to spend the same amount of time walking to the dime store and buying the cheapest DIGITAL watch I can find. That probably makes no sense to most educated people, but makes perfect sense to me.
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