Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Morning Commute

I hopped on the 8:06 to Town Hall as I do every day. (I've always wondered about this way of saying a time and a destination. Wouldn't this be different for everyone depending on which station you board the train from? Or is it the 7:45 from Hornsby? Would that make more sense?) Most of the time it's close to 8:09 or even 8:12. They're just that punctual. Maybe they need their watches serviced?  Although I don't mind it much. Sometimes it's nice to breathe in the crisp morning air, and listen to the dissonant cacophony of birds tweeting, cars honking, air brakes braking and children laughing. Yes I look at my watch that closely not because I'm concerned about being on time, but because every time I look at the time I get to admire this thing of beauty that sits on my wrist, held securely by the skin of a generous animal which gave its life for a worthy cause.

The Grande Reverso Ultra Thin, while long in name, is as simple and elegant as it gets for a watch. There are only 2 hands. I don't need to know the time down to the second. And a two-handed watch has that serenity you just don't get from a three-handed watch. It's as if your time is standing still, a nice bit of white lie and a stark juxtaposition to the ever-rushing world. The watch is taking the time to smell the roses and reminds you that you should also. The dial too, is elegantly crafted. Simple, black no-nonsense Arabic numerals on a silvery white background. Distinctive, high contrast, and easy to read. The brand, subtle yet prominent sits below 12:00 on a vertical guilloche decoration.

It's difficult to imagine the Reverso as a sports watch, and yet therein lies its humble, but significant beginnings: as a sports watch for Polo players who seemingly cannot control their wayward flying balls and forever getting their poor timepieces smashed in. The Reverso "reverses" over on itself so the hard metal back protects the watch during the game, and all the player had to do was flip it back over to see how much more time before the chukka ends. The piece on my wrist is a direct descendent of said pioneering sports watch. Manually wound and solid case back for when I do pick up the game of Polo. Ultra-thin? I suppose... It's the thinnest watch I have.

As I was staring at my watch I wondered what other people in the same carriage are doing. Is there any truth to the myth that 90% of the people just bury their heads in their smart phones/tablets? Surprisingly it's not 90%! A cursory glance around the carriage reveals 45 possible seats. 10 empty. Obviously all of them are of the middle seat in the 3 seater section. 2 girls are putting on their makeup. 3 guys have their heads against the window; resting I assume. I can't see their eyes. Surprisingly again only 5 has earphones on. Ok. One of them has an audio technica headphone. No dr dre beats here today. Ratio of guys to gals is 3:1. Half the guys are in suits. 3 people are reading actual books! As in made of paper! Only one person looked up to admire the view as we cross over the Sydney harbour bridge. Granted I was seated in the lower deck so the view does get obscured. 2 guys are on their laptop. Presumably working/emailing. From what I can tell only a handful have their heads buried in their phones. I bet no one stares at their watch for half the trip. There is one young couple deep in whispers. So sweet. The rest of the passengers seems to be just in a daze. Blanked out.

I also wonder what is on the minds of people who get up to stand at the door 45 seconds to a minute before reaching the station. Were they traumatised from a missed exit experience?

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Next stop Town Hall. Please be reminded to take all your belongings with you and thank you for travelling with Sydney Trains."

One more glance at the watch before I struggle out of my seat and walked through the carriage towards the doors. Glancing down as I pass by the other passengers to check out what's on their screens, I was dismayed to find no one was playing candy crush.

After "Big Sister" Opal reads my card and send crucial private information to the gummy mint the hard plastic gate creaks open and my access to the daily grind is granted and thus begins another day in the rat race. The upside? I get to stare at this beauty all day. And that makes it all right. As I stand in the lift that takes me to my day cell, I top up the juice by winding the buttery smooth crown and listening to the soft clicks as the spring inside the barrel tightens, I knew everything was going to be all right.

**No… I didn't take pictures of the view in the carriage. That would be plain weird and creepy. Let's just let the imagination run with this one.

1 comment:

horologium said...

Now you have me thinking about how many watches I have with no seconds indicator...Thank you for sharing your morning commute!