An inquiry into the significance of a misplaced wrist watch by L J Frank

Image for Writings
Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

Eleven days ago I somehow misplaced my 20-year old Movado Museum wrist watch. The significance – it’s the first thing I put on when I get dressed in the morning and the last thing I take off before going to bed at night. It was a gift to myself in 1997. It was more than an expensive piece of jewelry to note the time of day and night. The watch has no numbers on it, Latin or otherwise. It only has a gold dot etched in it where the number 12 is usually located. Also, it has no second-hand ticking away the minutes. It is a piece of art. And I am an artist.

After a day or two I reflected on the words written by the author of Ecclesiastes  –  all is “vanity” or philosophically, futile…perhaps I had rationalized the thought – “by knowing the time, I somehow knew time itself,” and I somehow had control over it or I could manipulate time itself. Even from an artistic standpoint the idea was nonsense unless one is a surrealist.

In my practical quest to know more about the nature of my now “naked wrist of time” I knew the new leather band I had purchased the previous week wasn’t secure. And the day it turned up missing I had considered returning it to replace the pins that kept the leather band in place. It obviously came lose and I didn’t notice the missing wristwatch until two or three hours later after I took off my coat. Where were my thoughts “at the time” of its missing? Checking at the local stores, gas stations and so forth, yielded no clues.

Days went by. I occasionally looked at my naked wrist. I reasoned that whomever found it was enjoying it. I mean I had a twenty-year relationship with it. That was longer than most marriages. Why not allow someone else the joy of looking at a numberless face with no second-hand. I mean what meaning did it have except that which I allowed my emotions to give it?

As I observed, it really is just a piece of art. I now began using my android phone to tell me the time if I needed to know. And as I looked around time was staring me in the face from every direction  – my car, android phone, television, laptop computer – the list is endless as if knowing the time I could somehow better manage it like the wrinkles in my aging skin.

Then after ten days a most bizarre thing happened. By now I had grown accustomed to my naked wrist. I was in the midst of achieving a new timeless freedom. The less I had to wear the more freedom I possessed.  And then it occurred.  Yesterday afternoon I was approached by a woman. She was wearing a wide grin. I smiled in return and was about to get into my car and head up to Ann Arbor when she said, “Wait, I think this is yours,” she said handing me my watch.

“What? Are you serious? Where did you find it?”

“In a drawer in my refrigerator, underneath some broccoli and a package of salmon I was just finding room for in the refrigerator.”

“What?”

“A week or so ago you helped me with my groceries. Your watch must have fallen off into the bag. I just shoved everything in the drawer until today as I was checking what to cook for dinner. I found this watch frozen in time so to speak.”

“I’m astonished.”

“It was a matter of figuring who, where and when. So I tracked you down.”

“I don’t know what to say. Well, thank you.”

She laughed and asked, “Do you like salmon and broccoli?”

“Well…I am a pescatarian.” I said, pondering what my new relationship with my wristwatch, time and people would evolve. Perhaps there is no significance – serendipity or otherwise except in the human mind.

“You look some what…bewildered.” she said.

“I’m evolving.” I replied as I noticed my wrist watch was still keeping time.