Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Taste of Forever

Unraveling motivations is tough business. Always confronted by the complicated collaboration between conscious and unconscious, verbal and non, visible and intuited, what makes someone tick is the question we ask. Like a grandfather clock in the hallway, some click away noisily, obvious every second until we're so accustomed that we notice them only when they're silent. Others are quiet quartz movements, their presence constant, a soundless consistency, comforting like a warm quilt on a cold night.

Some need daily attention. Their stem has to be wound to keep the internal processes working. Too loose and they run down quickly, too tight and they stop completely. It's an intimate, romancing, cheek-to-cheek between too much and too little. Their automatic counterparts, spring tightening imperceptibly with every
motion of the wrist, are models of perpetual activity. Slowing down only to change direction, we wonder where they get the energy.

One has buttons, little extensions of the casing that switch on multiple processes, making them seem like grown-up versions of songwriter Tom Paxton's Marvelous Toy. They practically go zip when they move, bop when they stop, and brr when they stand still. We never quite know who they are and question whether we ever will.

Another is plain, their face revealing only the essential two arms while one hand sweeps by each second. No date, no-nonsense, they're pragmatic, task-oriented, they get the job done. Held in place by a responsible buckle sewn to leather, they project predictability, stability, determination. We always know where they stand.

Vintage Banded Watch

And then there's the jewel in the collector's window. A remnant from another time, casing burnished, crystal scarred, they've lived and labored, loved and learned the lessons of life. Only a few are wrapped in their well-worn embrace, having willed to leave behind the glamor of the newest best thing for a taste of what seems to last forever.

(Image of vintage watches by alexkerhead via Flickr)

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