With time and without

I went up to Glasgow and Edinburgh for the weekend and a seminar yesterday on advertising law in the UK (which sounds dry but there were some great examples of ad campaigns gone terribly awry).
It was good to meet with friends and catch up on the latest; it was also good to go shopping for vegetables (I have a bog standard Somerfield here and am not especially enamoured of their selection). I must admit—I miss the city. I grew up in the country and feel at home here; however, with this new-found aversion to car ownership, country life is going to be rather cumbersome. Scotland has excellent public transportation links—in the Central Belt and to and from the Central Belt. I am down in the Borders. It took me seven hours to get the 105 miles from Edinburgh to Newton Stewart (3.5 hours of that were just sitting around waiting for the next form of transportation). The last bit, a bus from Dumfries to Newton Stewart, is timed to depart from the Dumfries train station four minutes before the train I was on arrives. So I had to wait two hours for the next one. I had to take two days of travel to go to an afternoon seminar in the City; not especially effective use of time.

But where is time? My watch battery died so I popped into a watchmaker’s shop on an Edinburgh back street to have it replaced. There was a man with a loupe in his eye sitting at a worn wooden table; as he worked on my watch and spoke of the various eras of watchmaking and the downfall of American ingenuity (regarding watches from the early and mid 20th Century), I looked about the shop. I realised, after fourteen and a half minutes, the time of the shop was stopped. I did not see anything in the place that looked like it had been made or altered after the early 1970’s. Also, since many of the machines and bits in the shop were unfamiliar to me, they could have been from any time. It was surreal. I was suddenly standing in a place all about the measurement of time—surrounded by clocks and watches—and could not make a reference to the present.

The watchmaker wore two beautiful old Omega watches; for some reason, the Greek Omega symbol on the watches also unnerved me. The whole experience was seriously bizarre. The watchmaker was pleasant enough and engaged in interesting conversation—but I was creeped out!