You’re tired of hearing about the watch, I know…but the saga continues.
Last Friday, as a “before-we-go-to-Iowa” errand, I had the battery replaced. Imagine my delight: a pretty watch THAT KEPT TIME. I marveled at my good fortune, until the next day after my morning shower. The inside of my watch’s face was foggy, beaded with untimely perspiration. I jammed my wrist under Miles’ nose on a whimper, and he looked upon the devastation with nonchalance. “Oh, yeah…I forgot to warn you that when they change the battery, the water seal is broken.” Calmly, he handed my wrist back to me with a look that undeniably said, “Now put that somewhere safe before you hurt somebody.”
As the day wore on, the condensation evaporated and I momentarily forgot of my woes. It wasn’t like I was receiving sympathy for them anyway, so what’s the use?
But things never resolve themselves simply in my world. I began noticing that the moisture appeared when I would leave the dry-cool of an air conditioned building and enter the hot-humid of the Midwest in August. The day before yesterday, a week after the above-mentioned battery changing, I returned to Dakota Watch Co. and asked the same gentleman who changed my battery to check the water seal on my watch. He did a double-maybe-triple take when I presented the watch for him. He recognized either me, the watch, or the combination of the two, and nodded in recognition. I explained my plight with ease, camouflaging the anxiety brimming just beneath the surface, and he set to sealing the watch case. He handed it back to me a short while later indicating that he had sealed everything, but that it is common for a watch to be finicky about the moisture saturation in air. Grateful for the work that he did, my eyes twinkled, and I asked, “How much do I owe you?”
He smiled an understanding smile and said, “Free of charge.” As we walked away, Miles and I spoke of the scary R-word: replacement. I am understandably upset:
Yesterday morning we hit 10 jewelry counters. Jewelry counters are not friendly experiences when you know just what you want. “No, I really don’t want your help deciding on something, I’ll know it when I see it.” “Yes, I realize that those are on sale…and if you hadn’t already told me 5 times, the big red sign might have tipped me off.” “Oh, these are new?—That’s nice…too bad that they’re hideous.”
Finally, Miles and I adopted a ruse. I would boldly walk to the glass-encased watch display while a vulture caught my scent. Meanwhile, Miles would stand behind me, gazing over my shoulder and looking observant. The vulture delivered its spiel. I blurt, seemingly unrehearsed, “You see, I’ve been looking for a two-toned or gold bracelet watch with a braided herringbone band. The watch that I am looking to replace is very dainty, and looks more like a bracelet than a watch.” The vulture points to something gaudy and matching only one of my qualifiers…that’s right, it’s either gold or two-toned. My convincing fake-laugh rolls as I remain uncommitted, saying, “My birthday is next week, and I am just pointing out gift-possibilities for him to consider.” This seems to be commonplace procedure, and the vulture laughs knowingly before flying toward fresh blood.
JC Penny was our final stop. I peered into the lit glass case as a woman with her hair piled high atop her head began to fire her round of ammunition. The glass case circled about the entire perimeter of the jewelry counter. Forgetting protocol in my so-far disappointment with the excursion, Miles answered the woman for me as she spoke in rapid and heavy Middle-Eastern-accented tones. “You want look a watch?” “For You? Her?” “Watches on sale, look!”
Miles answered benignly, “Just looking.” “Yes, for her, but we’re just looking for now, thanks.” “Oh yeah? Okay, thanks…but really, we’re just looking.” I surveyed their entire selection, and do you know that the rabid saleswoman followed me all the way around the jewelry counter, waiting for her next opportunity to pounce? Finally, seeing a watch that was most-of-the-way wonderful, except for the yucky mother-of-pearl face, I gave in and asked to stroke its willowy body. She looked condescending, according to Miles, as she reached for the indicated watch.
“Solid gold. 16 diamonds. On sale today for….$920.” Miles said she was waiting for my jaw to drop. He said she had a smug smile about her lips. I wouldn’t know any of this because I wasn’t looking at her, I was studying the watch. The band was a lovely weight, not quite herringbone or braided…but malleable. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get over the face…the mother-of-pearl was just not my style. Too much glitter with all of those rocks too. I handed it back to her after a thorough examination, and she looked crestfallen at my lack of response at the price, even more so at my anti-enthusiasm over its façade. We exited the store and Miles applauded my stony expression.
“What stony expression?” I questioned.
“She was trying to get a reaction out of you with that watch…”
I shrugged. “I just really didn’t like the mother-of-pearl—”
“NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS!”
“Oh, that. Well, the mother-of-pearl was gaudy.” I felt the duality of his relief and unease…relief that I did not like the watch, unease that had I liked it…..well, we won’t go there.