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November 20th, 2012


My dad is subject to various enthusiasms, and his latest -- which I experienced while visiting my parents last month -- is watches. As I had just celebrated my 60th birthday then (both my parents are now well into their 90s) he decided that what I needed for my birthday present was a new watch.

Now, I didn't need a watch. The one I bought to go with me to Antarctica was still going strong after 16 years (and a few new batteries). Granted, it didn't have many features (only time and date, and the date has to be reset if the previous month has less than 31 days). The glow-in-the-dark hands aren't so bright anymore, after the passage of a half-life of Tritium and more. And the fact that the second hand clicked between the hash marks rather than on them always convulsed the compulsive side of me. But, hey, it worked.

My dad was taken by this Casio watch with two different displays and a bunch of features, though, so to humor him I started wearing it. And though he said it would only take me a day to get used to it, with all its features, it's actually taken more like a month. But...

I love the fact that it tells me the day of the week (something I do often lose track of). I like that it can tell me the time in 33 times zones (including the hard ones, those that are a half-hour off); I actually need that, given both my own travel and the far-flung nature of my correspondents. I love that I can have the hands on local time but the digital clock tell me the time back in New York, where many of my family and colleagues live. And I even have learned to prefer the metal band to my old band -- it's easier to put on and off while going through airport security, and less likely to undo itself than my old velcro band. And since it displays the seconds digitally, not with a hand, the lack of precise alignment doesn't drive me crazy.

Of course, the thing I love the most about it is that every time I look at it, I remember who gave it to me.



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