The Mall

When I started running with the group at my workplace, many years ago, I bought a watch for timing myself. Not wind sprints or anything but I was learning to run using the “run one minute / walk four minutes this week, run two minutes / walk three minutes next week” method and I needed something to tell me how many minutes it had been and could I stop yet because my lungs were seizing.

Running is awesome. Totally do it.

I didn’t need a special watch. I only needed a watch with a second hand but funny story:

Even longer ago, I had this great watch and then the battery died and then it needed cleaning and The Bay said, sure, we’ll clean it for $75.

Instead, I went to the watch counter at The Bay and picked up a brand new watch for $65. I chose it quickly, based on how much it resembled my old, perfectly good (but prohibitively expensively filthy) watch so it wasn’t until I got outside and was halfway to somewhere else that I looked at my new watch and had no idea if any time had passed. Because it had no second hand.

Why would you have a watch with no second hand? I guess you have more faith in your watch than I do. After the battery death and the cleaning issue, I planned to be compulsively checking the time on that bad boy and if I didn’t see any movement there would be much panicking. However, I wasn’t about to go back to The Bay that day. I moved on and quickly got used to trusting my watch and then, eventually, just using my cell phone to tell the time.

The end.

Anyway. When I started to run with the running program and needed a second handed watch, I went to London Drugs (downtown Vancouver, this is key) and bought a kids’ digital watch for $10, a Timex with a camouflage elasticized wristband. I loved that watch.

But when I had kids I a) stopped wearing either of my watches and b) stopped running, so that watch has been upstairs gathering wool for a while. Today I took it to the London Drugs in Uptown the Mizzle to buy a new battery for it.

They don’t sell watch batteries. Now you know.

They don’t even sell watches, I don’t think. I was moving pretty quickly through the store to avoid being rear-ended and t-boned by various purchasers of sale priced toilet paper and clearance summer stock but I’m certain I saw no watches.

So I bought hair dye instead. Trombone said I needed to go red and you can’t go to London Drugs and not buy something, it’s bad luck, everyone knows that.

OK, I said to my children. No watch battery for me. Let’s go to the park.

But when I got outside I remembered there was a watch store at the mall. Yes, *That* mall. (My many posts about which I cannot link to here because I am a terrible tagger and I can’t find them.)

OK, I said to my children. I know what I just said, but just one more stop, I promise.

The store at the mall is called Time Factory or Watch Land or something. It looks just like the inside of that guy’s jacket, the guy who says, “Hey wanna buy a watch?” The signs all over the store say “Watches: $12. No returns!” I have never been in the store before so I was surprised to find glass cases within which were many expensive, jewel encrusted watches that cost upwards of $50. There was also some pretty shiny jewelry in there. As in, “fairly” shiny, not “attractively” shiny. With Fresco screeching his manifesto from the back seat of the buggy and Trombone hassling me about a ham and cheese croissant from the Cobs Bakery, I asked the woman behind the counter if she could change the battery in my beloved watch. Sure, she said. $9. Come back in 15 minutes. Because, I have, you know, Customers.

I looked around. There was one woman, eyeing the Shiny stuff but if you are changing my watch battery for $9 am I not a customer? OK, I said, sure, I am Committed To Running and this watch is all that is standing in my way. We carried on and I popped into the Source (formerly known as Radio Shack, ah the good old days) store to see if they had watch batteries and of course they did but they were $6 so I made an executive decision to just let Watch Island lady do it for the extra $3.

15 minutes later, the children’s mouths stuffed with croissants, I went back.

It’s not the battery, she said. She showed me the watch. It was still dead.
OK, I said.
I’ll just get the battery back out, she said.
OK, I said.

Since the children’s mouths were stuffed with croissants and the passers by seemed to think this was adorable, I parked the buggy and went in to see if I could find a sweet $12 digital watch. Turns out, yes. Nothing as sweet as my old watch (and nothing with a brand name I recognized; the one I bought is a “Santai” and will probably give me wrist cancer) but I did manage to find one in radioactive orange, which, for me, is a win.

While I was choosing my watch an older man came into the store muttering to himself. He had a big heavy watch with him and a new battery in an opened package and he strode up to the counter and pushed it at the woman.

This watch is broken, she said. I put the battery in for you yesterday. It doesn’t work. You need a new watch.

The man couldn’t talk, he made noises that sounded like talking but they weren’t words. He was insistent. He stayed at the counter, pushing the watch at her and she kept pushing it back, all the while trying to get my old watch back together.

It’s OK if it’s in pieces, I said.
No, she said. I will put it back together. Anyway, he brought that watch in yesterday. It’s got water damage. It won’t work. I CAN’T HELP HIM.
Mine won’t work either, I said to the man. He just glared at me.
Can you come back in another five minutes? she said, sighing.

I took the children, whose mouths were becoming dangerously empty of croissant, for another spin around the mall. When we got back, the man was still there. The woman looked at me helplessly.

It’s almost back together, she said.
OK, I said.
IT DOESN’T WORK, she said to the man. He shuffled his feet a little and glared at her and did not budge.

My new orange Santai watch comes with instructions – thank god – and at first I panicked because they were in Japanese but then I turned over the piece of paper.

My favourite of the “Note”s is this:

Avoid strong shaking, the electronic watch can bear common shaking, but not wild holding or dropping onto hard surfaces.

And my favourite function, so far, is that when you press the light button, the light flashes in not one, not two, not three but FOUR different colours. In succession, like a strobe. Now how am I supposed to avoid “wild holding” with this kind of party watch? I ask you.

Running just got More Awesome.

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