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Nothing truly takes a minute

Ask anyone today what time it is and they instantly reach for their phone. I remember when people were asked for the time they immediately looked at their wristwatch. Today if you want to see a wristwatch, you have to go to a flea market.

If you remember conventional wristwatches, you will recall that men’s watches were normally large, bold, striking and powerful-looking, often with black faces to accent the fluorescent hands. The man’s watch always had an impressive second hand that moved in short definite jerks pausing slightly between seconds. The watch not only showed the correct time, it also was a constant reminder that time never stands still.

It was also an indication that when the total minutes he was allotted when born run out, he will still have things undone.

Women’s watches, on the other hand, were always dainty in design, often containing tiny diamonds or bits of semi-precious stones and featuring a coordinating delicate band with a clasp so small a lock pick was required to open it.

But the thing that I clearly remember about a woman’s watch was the tiny face. It was all the watchmaker could do to squeeze in some numbers. Many ladies’ watches simply had four dots on the face, and I never remember a woman’s watch with a second hand. I could be wrong, so I will pay closer attention the next time I am at the flea market.

I think the size of a young woman’s watch impacted the way they look at time as an adult. I don’t know why, but every time my wife asks me to do something, she always says things like, “It won’t take long,” “It will just take a minute,” or my favorite — “I need you for a second.”

Normally, she completely miscalculates the time required. Not the time to do the job, but the time to get ready to do the job.

The other day, I was busy on the computer trying to meet a deadline for an article when the door to my office popped open and she cheerfully said, “I need you for a minute.”

Continuing to type, I asked, “Is something on fire? I am trying to get this article finished.”

“No smarty,” she replied. “I need to drill a hole in the wall to hang a plaque I bought. Oh, don’t bother, I will do it myself. Where is your drill and hammer?”

She knew the magic words. Anytime she asks for tools, she knows I react immediately to avoid any additional repair work.

“You can get it hung in fifteen minutes at the most and finish your article in plenty of time,” she added, handing me the plaque. It took me a few minutes to locate my drill and I discovered the battery needed to be charged.

There were two hangers on the back of the plaque that needed to be relocated to ensure it hung straight, so I went to my workshop to get a square. I got back just in time to remember I also needed a level, so it was back to the workshop. By now, the battery for the drill was charged enough to drill the holes required for the hangers, and if I had remembered to also get the screws and wire I needed, I could have avoided a third trip to the workshop.

The project went smoothly from that point, and after another trip to put all the tools away, I headed back to my office to complete the scheduled feature. I sat down at the computer just as my wife popped in.

“Your plaque is hung,” I said. “It took me 1 1/2 hours to get it done with all the trips I had to the workshop make, plus charging the drill battery.”

“See, I told you it wouldn’t take long,” she said over her shoulder as she walked out.

I am telling you, it was those small woman’s watches; they ruined everything.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville where he has thrown out all the digital clocks and replaced them with clocks with big numbers and a second hand.

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