Saturday, August 21, 2021

The timekeeper

Remember back when Rachel gave Benjamin her old watch? Well, this is a story that happened not too long after that exchange occurred, when the watch was new and exciting (it's still new and exciting for Benjamin, though he has stopped telling everyone the time every few of minutes).

Somehow the watch switched to 24-hour time, which Benjamin found incredibly frustrating (although it's Andrew's preferred format). He asked for help switching it back to 12-hour time, but Andrew didn't know how to do that off the top of his head and we no longer have the user's manual for this particular watch, so Andrew advised Benjamin to experiment—push all the buttons, see what they do—until Andrew could take some focused time to help him figure it out.

Off Benjamin went to push all the buttons, something that should have been thrilling, right?! Pushing all the buttons! No consequences?!

Well, he was a rather solemn child when he returned to Andrew seeking more assistance. All his button pushing had been for naught.

"I'll look up the manual," Andrew told him and soon they had all the information they needed. "It says to toggle between 12-hour and 24-hour time you simply press the start/stop button. Didn't you try that one?"

"No way!" Benjamin said. 

"Well, here. Let's just..." Andrew reached for Benjamin's wrist.

"NO!" Benjamin yelled, pulling his arm away and shielding the watch from Andrew.

"Wha..." Andrew began.

"I don't want to press that button!" Benjamin said, panicked. "We don't know what it will do to everyone!"

"It will...switch your watch from 24-hour time to 12-hour time."

"]That's all?!" Benjamin gasped. "I thought it would...stop time!"

I have to admit: I'm rather impressed by the restraint Benjamin showed those first few days he was a new watch owner and thought we had literally given him the power to stop and start time at will. I can't imagine what he was thinking—all these people walking around with ultimate power and yet...simply carrying on with the status quo. That button must surely be only for Very Important emergency scenarios. 

The watch has lost some of its magic in Benajmin's eyes. He no longer believes he has power over time. He no longer tells us the time every few minutes. But he still wears his watch every day and checks the time frequently. It's still a good's just not as powerful as he initially thought it was.

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