I didn’t wear a watch this weekend. I brought one. I planned to. Usually when I’m traveling you can’t get it off me. It’s a security blanket, an assurance that I’ll be able to check the time without having my phone. Not that I won’t have that too.
I didn’t wear my watch this weekend, and it seemed to contribute to the feeling of displacement. Yes, we were in Texas, yes, it was hot. But mostly, I wasn’t ever really sure what time it was.
I would say, “I never really realized how much of my life was completely governed by what time it was, what time I had to be somewhere, what time I had to leave,” but that wouldn’t be true. Because the only time I don’t know what time it is would be when I’m sleeping. And even then, I will know what time it is when I wake up.
In my 350 square foot apartment (a generous measuring), there are four clocks, not counting the one on the microwave. I own two watches, so that brings the number of timepieces up to 7. Then there’s my phone, which works as a backup timekeeper.
I didn’t know what time it was when on Friday we walked around the square in the center of Granbury in the 90+ degree shelter. We dragged our tired bodies around, which had been rudely awakened at 4 that morning and dragged from one end of the country to the other. Texas was having a cool spell, but our Minnesota-acclimated bodies were having a hard time believing it.
I knew what time it was while I waited in our hotel room for Grandma to return from the rehearsal dinner. She would have gotten ready for bed with a flashlight rather than wake me with a real lamp, so I kept the lights on and kept my eyes open with sitcoms.
And I kept track of time until we left for the bridesmaids’ luncheon the next day. My watch left off because it didn’t match my outfit, I sat and talked with the photographer for an hour I suppose, not realizing how long it was taking for the single waiter to bring all of the food.
I wasn’t sure what time it was when I sank into my hotel bed for an afternoon nap, Grandma napping on the other bed. But I know she slept a much shorter time than I did, jumping up after a short rest of the eyes to get ready for the wedding and clear out of the bathroom so I could get ready when I woke up.
I didn’t know what time it was when the wedding guests carried chairs over from the ceremony area by the lake to the reception room. But I do know that we sweated even though the chairs were light. And we kept sweating while we ate our burgers and cake and listened to speeches and cried during the father-daughter dance.
It felt much later than 9:30pm when grandma and I flopped into our beds, but I do know that it’s true.
The clock in the lobby of the hotel was wrought iron and had a pattern on the back of the clock that made it impossible to tell where the hands were from a distance, so I didn’t know what time it was this morning when some of us found our way around two breakfast area tables to eat waffles shaped like Texas and oatmeal and sip our coffee, which is the family heritage beverage, and catch up a bit more, rehash the previous night’s events.
I didn’t know what time it was when we left the church of my dad’s college friends and followed them to their house. When 3:30 rolled around, my mom looked at her watch in surprise, “we’d better leave if we’re going to get you to the airport on time. ” I didn’t know it was so late.
It didn’t matter much, because events like these don’t depend on the time as much as they depend on everyone being in the right place at the same time. And I could just be a sheep, following the herd to the next stop.
Now that it’s just me again I wish I’d put my watch on today. I can’t follow the heads in the airport, because, unlike my family, they don’t know where I’m going or where I’ve been or when I need to get there.
I mean, my family doesn’t always know that. None of us actually brought our invitation to the wedding, so we had to combine our shared memory for some of the details. But there’s a lot more trust there than the person in front of me in the security line.
I’ll be glad to strap my watch back on tomorrow morning, but it was nice to spend a couple days without its governance.