By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
I was born more than three weeks past my due date and haven’t been on time for anything since. I don’t even wear a watch because I don’t care what time it is.
So I was delighted recently to meet a woman who feels the same way. She works in a watch store.
“Before I got a job here about two years ago, I hadn’t worn a watch since 1989,” said Brenda, a sales professional at a Tourneau shop where I had gone with my wife, Sue, who needed a slight adjustment on her otherwise steady and stylish timepiece.
“I’ve had only one watch in my life,” I told Brenda. “It was one of those digital things. You needed two hands to tell the time.”
“And the hands weren’t on the watch,” she said helpfully.
“Right,” I replied. “Anyway, our place was burglarized many years ago. The crooks made off with my wife’s watch, but they left mine behind. It wasn’t even good enough for thieves. I was so insulted that I haven’t worn a watch since.”
“How do you know what time it is?” Brenda asked.
“I ask my wife,” I answered.
“I found myself having to ask people what time it was,” Brenda said. “More often than not, they were wearing watches that didn’t have the right time.”
“So you were always late?” I inquired.
“Yes,” said Brenda. “I was notorious for it. At family gatherings, my relatives would place bets to see what time I would arrive.”
“My family says I’ll be late to my own funeral,” I said.
“What do you tell them?” Brenda wondered.
“I’m in no big hurry to get there,” I said.
“Is this true?” Brenda asked Sue.
“Yes,” Sue said. “He’s always late.”
“From the day I was born,” I said, “I’ve been the late Jerry Zezima.”
“I’m more punctual now,” said Brenda. “It makes good sense to be on time when you work in a watch store.”
Brenda’s watch, which said 2:47 p.m., because that was the time, was like Sue’s, a nice but not extravagant timepiece that looked good on her wrist. It was similar to the watch in the large photo on the wall. That one said 10:10.
“It’s always 10 after 10 in a watch store,” Brenda explained. “It’s the same time in newspaper and magazine ads. It’s where you are supposed to put your hands on the steering wheel when you drive.”
“What happens in the spring and fall when the time changes?” I asked.
“You make a wrong turn,” said Brenda.
“You know the old saying: Even a broken watch is right twice a day,” I told Brenda, who gave me a candy watch.
“I give these to little kids when they come in with their parents,” she said.
“It says 5 minutes to 8,” I noted.
“It’s not good at keeping time,” Brenda said. “But at least it’s edible. And it’s free.”
That’s more than she could say for the other watches in the store, the most expensive of which were Rolexes.
“They start at $5,000,” Brenda said. “It depends on how much bling you want. They’re made of precious metals. You can get a platinum watch for just shy of $60,000.”
“That’s the cost of two cars,” Sue said.
“True,” said Brenda. “But you’d never keep a Rolex in the garage.”
A good, reliable, more reasonably priced watch costs about $300, Brenda said, adding: “A watch is good for your self-esteem. You have the ease of knowing what time it is instead of having to ask.”
I didn’t buy a watch, but I told Brenda I’d think about it and come back.
“If you get one,” she said, “you’ll never be late again.”
Sue looked at me and said, “It’s about time.”
Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima