Clockwork

Ava Rofougaran - Ecuador


March 31, 2015

One February morning, I woke up to a refreshing scent of untouched nature and a soothing sound of trickling rain drops, in addition to a ghastly rash under the band of my watch. At first, I assumed the rash was one of the many effects of the bug-ridden jungle, as it couldn’t have been the watch since I had been wearing it the whole year. Nevertheless, determined to investigate the source of this rash, I decided to part with my watch temporarily. The feeling of emptiness on my wrist was an unpleasant and unfamiliar one; I had regularly worn a watch for what seemed like my whole life, and I desperately wanted it back ‰ÛÓ to plan my activities, meals, leisure. Without my watch, without the constant access to the time, I felt lost and vulnerable; as if I were walking in the dark without a flashlight, having no way to know where to take the next step. I supposed I was experiencing some withdrawal from years of wearing watches, and so I began to wonder how my attachment to watches even started. I believe it was before my middle school graduation when I asked my parents to get me a watch. But it wasn’t just any watch; it was a white, silicone, Juicy Couture watch with rhinestones on the twelve and six. It also happened to be disproportionately large for my hand so that the circumference of its face exceeded the length of my wrist. I had had my eye on this watch for a while and was thrilled to receive it as my graduation present, thus marking the beginning of an inseparable kinship. Though initially I saw my watch only as a classy and stylish accessory, I did eventually begin to use it to tell time. Learning time management became an integral part of my life when I entered high school. And as with many things, I took it to extremes. I would obsessively prepare weeks in advance; I would schedule my days to the last minute; I would spend more time planning to do something than actually doing it. Having a watch enhanced that ability to control my day, to choose my future. Yes, I became superbly efficient, organized, productive, etc., but I paid a price. The only joy in my life became the excitement of something to come; the fear became the same. Perhaps I felt lost when I didn’t have a watch, but I was lost when I did. I was lost attempting to live in the future, in a world that does not exist. And in doing that, I was losing my life today, the only life that matters or exists. During the first couple of days without my watch, I was deported back to the present and forced to focus on what was at hand, regardless of the exact minute. Meanwhile, being so distraught and disoriented, I failed to notice the gradual disappearance of the rash. Then I solved the case ‰ÛÓ I was the culprit in the investigation; my mentality was the source of the rash. Indeed, removing my watch had healed the rash caused by my need for constant time-keeping. And now, the accomplice sits on the bottom level of my bookshelf, waiting to be used for not much more than a classy and stylish accessory.

Ava Rofougaran