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Exit ArchiveArchive for August 31st, 2005
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Just a note that I have finally made two new entries to the Forum. Just now! Lookie lookie!

Oh, okay, three new entries. Stickler.

I finally got to 3rd Street Promenade today to buy some shirts. I also took my first and favorite Swiss Army watch, the Cavalry, to get a new battery to replace the old one that went out a few weeks ago.

I took the watch to the place I have bought my other Swiss Army watches. The lady told me it would be $19.50 to replace the battery. I hmmed, then told her a guy near work could do it for $5, and left. I lied. I think he charged $10. Nevertheless, knowing I would never go back to the guy near work because he damaged the watch backing trying to pry it off last time, I went to a watch shop I had passed in Santa Monica Place mall on the way from the parking garage. A note was on the door: Back in 10 minutes. Like hell.

Grumbling, I went back outside to the Promenade. I made my way to another watch place. They would do it for $12. While still not great, I did not care, and as they were closing in ten minutes I waited.

That was a mistake.

Wandering over the cases, I saw a Swiss Army watch that I found intriguing. I liked that it was kinda big, but mostly because it had the day of the week on the face instead of just the date. Having a large MONDAY splashed across my watch every Monday morning would be fun, I thought masochistically.

The man handed me the watch. It had a clear back and you could see the inner workings at work. Oooo, thought the nerd in me. It was also an automatic, self-winding jobbie. Self-winding had never made sense to me since I figured any watch I bought that would be self-winding would be worn only once in a while, not every day like the Cavalry, and I’d have to re-set the time whenever I put it on. For me, that’s tedious because I have to set my watches exactly, using one of three methods: My Mac, which sets itself automatically; the special radio frequency clock my sister got me a few years ago for Christmas that queries the atomic clock in Boulder; or the old-fashioned method I’ve used since grade school, calling the atomic clock itself at (303) 499-7111. Yes, call in the psychoanalysts!

However tedious setting an automatic watch would be, both the slight annoyance of having to wear my crappy Hamilton because my beloved Cavalry was dead and the slightly less-slight annoyance of having to get to a place that would fix my Cavalry without gouging me or damaging it further suddenly turned the automatic feature of this shiny new watch into a boon.

Mistaking my thought-invoked pause for consumer hesitation, the watch man offered me 20% off right there. Which I’m sure he must do to every customer eventually.

I caved, and after paying for the watch and joking, like someone who’s old enough to receive a senior discount subscription to Smithsonian magazine would, that that was “one expensive watch battery,” exited the store with my new geegaw.

Fifteen minutes later, after coming out of Abercrombie with a new shirt I’d passed up earlier, I took off my watch to discover its more arcane mysteries by reading the fine print on the back. Then I fiddled with the band. Did I want it looser or tighter? Loose made the huge crown dig into my wrist more, so maybe tighter was…

Karma bumped me lightly in the motor skill region of my brain, and I dropped the watch. It hit the ground with a solid, satisfying thunk that belied its true build quality. A microsecond of staring aghast later, I swooped it off the ground. What had I damaged? Was the sapphire crystal face shattered? Was the delicate-looking auto-wind mechanism ruined? Would any number of the twenty-five jewels in the movement be, er, dejeweled?

No, there was merely an ugly blemish in the shiny part of the bezel. At 9¼ o’clock.

My mind raced through all the options. The store would never have pity on me for being clumsy so soon after purchase. They might be able to recommend a place to buff out the damage. I could…

I was not angry. I did not curse or fume. I was just incredibly disappointed in myself for being so stupid and clumsy. And when I thought about it more, I realized that all the other Swiss Army watches I have that I try to keep nice have sustained some scrapes and scratches. This one just got broken in with jolting immediacy.

Besides, you can’t fight karma. And it was karma. I should not have bought the watch in the first place. I did not need it, I did not need the setback to paying off my credit card. So karma let me know that by damaging my pristine new splurge. Oh, and perhaps it was helped by my poor little Cavalry, alone, wrapped around the tiny pillow in the paper and metal Swiss Army box inside the Gap bag inside the Abercrombie bag. A little watch jealousy was certainly called for.

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I stopped subscribing to Smithsonian magazine a while back for two reasons.

1. The subscription rate went from $12 a year to $24.

2. I rarely had the time to read the magazine any more to make $24 a year worth the money.

A month or two ago, I sent back an offer to subscribe to Smithsonian for $12 a year. Though I doubt I have gained more time to read it, the $12 will be worth it if I can do so now and then. I love it, after all.

I got the bill for the $12 today and wrote out a check. As I placed it and the payment coupon in the provided envelope, I noticed the return address: Smithsonian Senior Program. Then I saw elsewhere on the card, “Regular Price: $48; Senior Discount Price: $12.”

I will know one of two things when my subscription price goes back up to $24 in a few years.

1. They have figured out I’m not even 40 yet.

2. They were bought by an HMO.