Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Watches and time

I had just gotten out of the Metro train onto a very crowded platform, when I heard the sound of something hitting the tile. The older woman in front of me had lost her watch.

I stopped to pick it up, to the great annoyance of all of the people behind me, who pushed their way around me, to the escalator. All the time, I was shouting, "Miss! Miss! You lost your watch!"

She didn't hear me.

I ran up to her -- high heels be damned -- still shouting. There was no response until I tapped her on the shoulder. Finally, she acknowledged me, and took the watch. She hasn't heard me because she was wearing earmuffs under her jacket hood.

She thanked me profusely. I meekly said it was no trouble and headed up the escalator.

I have no idea how much the watch was worth; I barely even looked at it. (I do know that it was silver and, by feel, it was somewhat dainty.) Instead, I thought about the watch that I've been wearing day in and day out -- the cheap watch that was once my mother's. I thought about the nicer watches in my jewelry box at home that I don't often wear. I wonder if that watch meant something to her, like my watch means to me. I hope it did.

I wonder why no one else stopped or tried to get her attention. I wonder why everyone just pushed ahead, trying to ignore it. Are those five, ten, maybe fifteen extra seconds really that valuable?

No comments: