March 11, 2022 | OPINION | By Emma McDermott

I was one of those people who always had the time. I had been that way since my third-grade teacher –– a raspy voiced woman so tall her fluffy maroon, Einstein-esque hair brushed the top of the doorway –– drilled it into my little 9-year-old brain. This became the case after she cold-called me to read the clock and I mixed up the hands. A simple, fixable, understandable mistake. You’d think.

Not to her, as it turned out. To this day I’m haunted by the disappointed stare she gave me just over the rim of her thick glasses –– the kind that makes the wearer’s eyes look kind of buggy (which sat on a hideous beaded neck chain, I might add). Think Emma Thompson in Harry Potter.

But I digress.

The point is I always had the time. That is, until my down-for-anything, water-resistant-up-to-100-meters, four-function, lemon-lime (save for the sections that blurred pencil lead turned booger-green), $60, timeless Timex Ironman died. It was four glorious years filled with that warm feeling that, indeed, I had the time, rain or shine, day or night (thank you, handy “indiglo” feature).

And the worst part –– it happened on my watch.

This fateful day, a cursed Thursday during Block 1, changed the course of my entire life. I am not exaggerating.

It was during a Religion class, and just as I was starting to get sucked into the refreshingly happy and peaceful Song of Songs, I suffered a hard fall back to reality as the light in my Timex Ironman sputtered to darkness.

Maybe this was a sign, from God, to pay attention to my professor and stop thinking about the next break. But then I remembered: there is no God. How could there be? This wouldn’t –– this couldn’t –– have happened if there was. My watch was dead, and if that monster of a machine couldn’t make it in this damned realm, none of us could. Not even God.

I went through the standard grieving process, as one does when this kind of tragedy happens. I kept the Timex Ironman on my right wrist for a few more days (it’s not weird, guys), where it had sat, reliably, every day for the previous 1460-plus days. But somehow, miraculously, I brought myself to take it off.

I almost felt naked (mask off indoors, anyone?). It was a bizarre feeling, one of simultaneous betrayal and freedom. This thing had been with me every second of the previous four years –– every shower, every standardized test, every soccer game, prom and graduation, even (much to the dismay of my mother, who said it looked weird in the pictures) –– and I had a serious tan line to show for it. But now, it was gone. A relic of the good old days.

To my surprise, I found the death of my Timex Ironman coincided with a sharp increase in my attention span, and I was amazed at how quickly the end of class started to sneak up on me (but there’s definitely no correlation). Anyway, I flirted with this not-having-the-time state of being for a couple months and actually really enjoyed it.

But, as with most things he does, Santa ruined this golden period for me. Even worse than my Timex Ironman dying was the arrival of an Apple Watch.

At first, I was excited. Santa’s great, I thought. But that deceiving bastard got me again. Hook, line, and sinker.

Goh, sometimes I just wish he didn’t exist!

But now, now I realize how naïve and gullible I was all the way back three months ago. How could I have been so stupid? If only I’d known what was to come now that I’d been kidnapped to the dark side.

And what was to come was not pretty. It was day after day of my wrist writhing in pain at every hourly vibration to “stand up, move!” even when I’d been on the treadmill for the past 60 minutes. It was an exam interrupted by my 11-year-old brother texting me Trollface. It was a rugburn from the wrist strap so bad only Johnson’s head-to-toe lotion for newborns could heal. It was the face staying lit throughout the whole night (seriously, the thing won’t turn off unless it dies, which happens about every six hours) and the terrifying thought that Tim Cook is in bed with me.

Plus, who wants to know their heart rate all the time? That shit’s depressing and, in my case, probably cause for medical attention. The other day, for example, I was at that pee-your-pants point of laughter, and the thing starts wailing, saying my heart rate’s “at an alarmingly high level for not moving.” For something that doesn’t stop vibrating it sure knows how to kill the vibe.

The most unexpected challenge my Apple Watch has confronted me with made its debut in recent weeks when I started Elementary Arabic. Every now and then, Siri takes it upon herself to Google things my professor is saying to us. What’s more, she likes to transcribe the lectures and, if she’s feeling particularly mischievous, send them to recent contacts.

So, if you’re feeling irresponsible with your money and sense yourself being seduced into the regret of a lifetime, I beg you to think carefully. All that awaits is eternal punishment (after all, the logo is an apple with a bite taken out of it).

If that didn’t scare you, maybe this will do the trick: wearing an Apple Watch is like wearing a transparent cicada whose last meal was a basket of fireflies.

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