My long time friend and trusted time keeper stopped working this morning. I was left in the computer lab with a room full of students and no watch or clock. Luckily, the credit union sign was visible from the lab's window. It flashed the time and bitter cold temperature (18 degrees).
My time keeper has been with me for over nearly fifteen years. I've grown accustom to its face, and its sleek and nimble second hand. This onset of nostalgia wasn't helpful when it came to the decision of keeping my old friend for another few battery cycles or sending it off gently into that silent, motionless good night.
I made the decision to keep my trusted Timex for one reason and one reason only; a Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I stopped at the Smiths MegaStore on my way home to have a new battery installed.
"Where is your jewelry department?" I asked a sales associate.
"The front of the store," she replied.
I was expecting to see a generic, bare bones and to the point jewelry store like my trusted Lindon WalMart. Instead I walked into a posh, dark wood paneled shop festooned with crystal cases dazzling with brilliant diamonds, gold and silver. I was wearing my old winter coat and trainers. I was carrying two cans of whipping cream and a cheap package of chicken (on sale at ten for a dollar). I felt out of place and thought it best not to cross the barrier and foul the atmosphere of something so grand.
"May I help you?" a finely dressed sales associate caught me before I made the decision to go.
"I need a new battery for my watch," I asked.
"That will be $12 dollars," she replied. I wondered why she answered my question with a price. Then I remembered my tennis shoes and stained winter coat. She wanted to be sure I could afford $12 before they went to the effort to help me.
"That will be fine," I answered.
She held out her hand. "The watch please." I hesitated. My old trusted friend was battle worn, heavily pock marked and dirty around the edges. I sat my two bottles of whipped cream and cheap chicken lunch meat on her sparkling glass, took off the watch and handed it to her. She examined it.
"John, will you see to this watch," she held it out to a very junior assistant. "It needs a battery."
My friend disappeared behind the counter with a young man wearing a tie and sweater.
|My friend. We've been through a lot together.|
|The band shows its age|
He took forever to replace the battery. I grew impatient. It was cold and snowing outside and I wanted to get home. Ten minutes later he appeared.
"Your watch sir." I took it from his hand and put it back on my wrist. Before ringing me up on the register, he made one attempt at getting me to part with my money. "May I interest you in a new watch? We have several on sale. I'm sure we could find something in your price range."
"No, this one has been with me a long time. We've got a history. I'm fine." I replied. He glanced at my coat and Smiths Brand lunch meat on his counter.
"I see." He rang up the bill. I paid and left.
I've learned my lesson. I'll never trust my friend to another jewelry store other than my local Lindon Walmart. They can swap a battery in and out of an old Timex in a couple minutes without any comment other than, "Have a nice day".
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