Going for a drive…

The day began with more than its usual industry.  For one thing we were out of the door by 8:40 am and seated in the car headed for breakfast at a nearby favourite diner. We hadn’t even paused after the morning ablutions for a coffee or fruit.

But we had dressed accordingly. It was beautifully sunny but cold, freezing in fact.  Literally!  Even the button on the car’s door lock was frozen (it had previously rained a great deal). For the first time in recent memory we wore long pants, a sweater and a shell.

On our way to breakfast, as we wound our way slowly through the cavernous roadways of Sea Pines Resort past the security gate, we contrived to do some grocery shopping afterwards.  We didn’t require much – in fact we needed more pharmaceuticals than food – and we didn’t want to overstock prior to our impending departure to Florida several days hence. So after breakfast – which was a twist upon the Sunday morning old reliable eggs Benedict – we motored directly to the local grocery store and gathered our provisions. Then we went home.

Even after we recovered the snug coziness of our apartment, the spectacularly blue sky beckoned us. Within moments we were back outside, this time on our bikes and headed for Tower Beach. The low tide had been about 2 hours previously so the beach was conveniently passable.  It also helped that the smart wind was at our backs (otherwise we might have readily abandoned the enterprise at least in favour of more sheltered passage on the mainland paths). When however we made it to Beach Club I determined to stand down for a while, to enjoy the warmth of the sun in the lee of the Clubhouse.

My repose was to be a solitary one. No matter. It appears that my having revived myself earlier than usual this morning had overtaken me. I happily relented. I sat on a wooden bench with one leg crossed over the other, leaning into the arm of the bench, bathed in the warm sun.  And I dozed. When I stirred from my daydream I sat motionless, blankly staring at the blue sky, the palms, the wooden boardwalk. Though there were occasional passers-by headed to the beach for a walk, it was tranquil. Placid thoughts washed over me, consoling recapitulations spanning sixty years in an instant, agreeable highlights of a lifetime. Nothing disappointed me. Everything was buoyant.

It was only a 3-mile bicycle ride home, along vacant paths, into the sun.  I wondered how the Palmetto ferns tolerated the cold air. There were even some pink blossoms on a tree! I peddalled and pedalled. My attention wandered to the blue sky and the yellow sunshine. I knew before I arrived home and stowed my bike that I wanted to go for a drive in my car. The weather was too perfect to be missed!  In Canada I have a routine for a fifty-mile ride which I routinely perform. But here I suffer the anxiety of an interloper and my vagabond spirit is contained. I have yet to discover the back roads here.  But I knew I must go.

And go I did!  Though not far.  I assuaged my lust for vagrancy by succumbing to my urge to check out a local retailer.  It is admittedly a persistent undercurrent of my fatuous being. But dissolve I did! I knew without contemplation where I was going.  Technology is the last frontier of my greedy appetite.  But I already had all the computers, Smartphones, tablets, portable sound systems and fitness monitors I needed. What then? What then? I had inwardly resolved to avoid the usual tech-stores. And jewellery was right out!  How unbecoming it is for an older gentleman to hang tinsel from himself! But the yearning lingered. It had to be watches!

Within the hour I had methodically scanned the glittering retail cases and rested upon one in particular, the Bulova watch display. At least thirty years ago I remember speaking to a gentleman who raced horses in Kentucky. He and I chatted about watches, a not uncommon focus among men, something about the exactness and detail of watches. I suspect he was provoked in particular to mock my obsession with complicated watches.  He informed me that he wore a Timex because he needed a watch which he could submerge over the side of his boat when fishing without concern for its survival. That frankly is a thrust which never would have motivated my interest in watches of any description. However I equally confess that I have lately embraced a far less grand view of timepieces though perhaps not as austere as Timex, Citizen, Fossil or Casio for example. I preserve a measure of want for recognizable quality.

The Bulova people have lately developed two significant lines – their Precisionist and automatic watches. The Precisionist watches (even though they have a sweeping minute hand – as opposed to a ticking one) are battery powered and of course they have the accuracy of any battery-powered watch (at least until the battery runs down).  The new wave of automatic watches are not only mechanical (with a real sweeping minute hand) but perpetual (assuming one wears the watch and activates the mechanism). Until today I have never owned an automatic mechanical watch which wasn’t among the breed of notoriously expensive watches; namely, Rolex, Breitling and Cartier. But the Bulova 96A120 is the exception. This piece distinguishes itself by its rose gold accents, brown face and leather strap, a muted departure from what has been the more popular busy styles.

The copper-coloured face is reminiscent of an advertisement I saw years ago for a similarly coloured Lincoln Mark IV automobile. It was an eery look, overall dark but glistening, the car was in a manicured field (no buildings about) and there was some middle-aged chap standing by dressed in a Sarfari-style jacket. The photo below is close but not exactly as I recall.

Immediately after buying the watch I sat in the car trying to figure out how to adjust the length of the leather bracelet.  I knew course that it shouldn’t be tricky, but for the life of me I could not figure it out.  In despair, I did what any other reasonable technologically inclined person would do, I asked Google. My inquiry was rewarded.  And, yes, it was simple.

Animated by this minor score I continued shopping for less dignified items like smalls, socks, golf shirts and casual long-sleeved shirts.  In the end the consumption was but a dent yet it entirely quelled the bubbling passion. Naturally the dénouement to this frivolity entailed a further dalliance in my automobile. I drove aimlessly off the Island and back again, exhausting the inertia before returning home.