Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Eleven Represents the Times of My Life

I’m obsessed with knowing the right time. Well, maybe obsessed is too extreme a word. Let’s settle on preoccupied. Nah, that’s not right, either. Let’s just say I have a keen desire to know what time it is at all times.

Perhaps it’s a legacy of my days as a reporter and editor. All of my work was done to deadline. Knowing how many precious minutes I had to complete and submit my story ruled my productivity.

Many people, Gilda included, no longer wear watches, relying instead on their smart phones, or watch-wearers like me, to reveal the time of day or night. I check the accuracy of my watch against what my iPhone says.

A slight digression about my two main watches. Aside from telling time they detail the day of the week and month, realities I found useful during frequent business or pleasure trips. They also light up when a button is pressed, something I am prone to do during loooong movies or dull plays no matter how short. They’re inexpensive Timex watches, my tribute to Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” fame who, when interviewing Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini decades ago, explained that his simple watch told time as accurately as any expensive watch.

Every room in my home, including the garage, has at least one clock. There’s an outdoor clock affixed to a fence off our patio. I even placed a waterproof clock in our shower. 

This seemingly all-encompassing need to know the time drives Gilda crazy as she does not share my peccadillo.

My dedication to clocks is particularly evident in our extended kitchen. Six clocks. I have positioned six clocks around the room so that anywhere I happen to be facing time will confront me.

Which poses a problem of its own. Each clock dispenses a different time. No matter how many times I reset them to the correct time according to the Optimum time on our cable box, within days there are six different readings.

I can understand why the two analog battery operated clocks might be off given the uncertain strength of their respective power source, but I am perplexed as to why digital clocks plugged into our electrical system would be inconsistent.

The pride and joy of my clock collection is a seven-foot tall Howard Miller grandfather clock presented to me in honor of my 25th year at Lebhar-Friedman, publisher of Chain Store Age. Westminster chimes sound every 15 minutes.

I try to remember to wind the clock every seven days. I’ve noticed over the years that for an unknown reason the clock may run several minutes slow or 15 or more minutes fast over the course of a week. Rarely does it keep perfect time. (Yes, I’ve had it attended to by a professional. Astute readers will have noticed I wrote “attended to,” not “fixed.” Like many grandfathers this clock has a mind of its own. It is set in its ways.)

Hanging prominently in our living room is an Ansonia long drop regulator clock Gilda and I purchased in a New Haven antique store in 1975. It was almost 100 years old back then based on a sliver of a dated note pasted inside the frame.

A few years ago I stopped winding it. I set the hands to 11:11, our good luck time. Our first married night in Seymour, Conn., just down the road from Ansonia, we set up one of our wedding gifts, a digital clock with numbers that flipped down the way airline schedule boards once did. The time read 11:11.

Eleven became our signature number. We were born 11 days apart. We wed in the eleventh month of the Jewish calendar, Shevat. We were married 11 years when we bought our current house, number 11 on our street.

Our son adopted 11 as his sports uniform number after watching Phil Simms, number 11, lead the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory in 1987. Dan’s children similarly wear 11 on their sports uniforms.

Last week I was confident I had a chance to win some money in the Powerball lottery. Both tickets I bought had 11 as the Powerball bonus number. Alas, I am still searching for that elusive windfall.

In another 11 (there’s that number, again) days we will change the clocks once more to mark the end of Daylight Savings Time. For a few minutes my clocks and watches will be reset in sync, not to be so compliant until next spring when we return to Daylight Savings Time.