Several months ago (or maybe it’s been a year or two) the watchband on the General’s Tag Heuer watch needed repair or replacement. I can’t remember exactly what was wrong with the band, but I do remember that finding an acceptable resolution was painstaking. Now that I’ve started the story, I think a portion of one link of the watchband unknowingly fell off the watch and was never recovered.
The process was like searching for a needle in a haystack. I’m not talking about the General attempting to find the lost link. I’m sure that thought never crossed her mind. A portion of the link was gone, that’s all there is to it. The difficulty was finding a jeweler that had access to parts to repair the watchband. To start with, the availability of jewelry stores that handle or repair Tag watches are fairly limited.
Several months earlier, the watch stopped working altogether. I mean, after all, nothing lasts forever. I would have described the watch as an old watch. The General had received it as a gift from the owner of the drilling company where she worked in Midland. I think he gave it to her on her fifth anniversary with the company. A short time later, he sold the business. If memory serves me correctly, the year was 1996, but I could be mistaken.
As a side note, I used to have a lot of fun telling people that my wife worked for a drilling company. When they’d ask me what she did for the company, I’d always respond that she was a roughneck. I’d say: “She works six days on and six days off”. They’d look at me like I was a lunatic, and of course I was. The General would also look at me the same way. She actually worked in the office. The drilling company was a family owned and operated business and it was a good place to work. The office was located in Claydesta Plaza. I think it was on the fourth floor, but the General never got totally comfortable with the glass front elevator. She has an aversion to heights.
Okay, so the watch was not only old, it also had sentimental value. She had received it as a gift. When the watch stopped working, I said: “Buy a new one.” After all, that’s how I manage my Seiko watch when it stops working. I just buy a new one. The issue was simple: “Toss it and get a new one.” Obviously, I had no idea what a Tag Heuer watch cost. As it turned out, I think the General spent twice as much as I normally spend on a new watch having her old watch repaired. And then three months later the watchband fell apart. It sounds like an installment of Murphy’s Law. Wouldn’t you agree?
At any rate, the jewelry store where her watch had been restored to like new condition did not have access to parts to repair the missing link. Fortunately, they provided the name of a jeweler in North Austin that had the wherewithal to get the watchband repaired. Somehow it became my responsibility to get the watchband to him.
As it turned out, the jewelry store was located in a new strip-shopping center. It didn’t appear to be in the best of neighborhoods, but the strip center appeared to look like new construction. The thing that absolutely amazed me was the inability of a shopper to simply push or pull on the door and gain access to the building. Strangely, shoppers have to press a buzzer or doorbell on the door to be permitted access inside the store. Doesn’t that seem strange to you?
I don’t know why I found it strange. After all, you can’t just walk into the office building where I work either. It, too, has a buzzer or doorbell system that has to be activated before anyone is permitted access if they don’t know the secret handshake or have a fob. Of course, the person pressing the buzzer is also being videotaped from the moment they walk up to the building. Consequently, I always try to remember to smile when I’m entering the office. After all, it could become a segment on Candid Camera. We’ve had that system in place ever since the building was opened. Consequently, I no longer find it strange, but it startles me when I find a similar system in place elsewhere.
In the past two or three months, I’ve gone to two different attorney’s offices and found the same system. You can’t just open the door and walk inside to a waiting-room. You have to press a button and wait to be permitted inside.
Surprise of surprise, I recently found a similar system in place at a doctor’s office. I found the whole concept a little troubling! Have we become so anxious and fearful of unexpected violence that we’ve gone to extremes to protect ourselves?
Maybe I’m being naive, but to me the move toward extra precautions, security systems to enter buildings, extra lighting in parking lots, and surveillance cameras reflect that we don’t feel safe. Have we lost our minds or peace of mind? Serious, we don’t work for the post office and even they are primarily a safe places to work.
When it comes to safety, what are industry standards related to employee or consumer safety? Over the past several months, lots of places have begun to orchestrate plans and pro-actively attempt to figure out what to do in the unlikely event you have an active-shooter inside the workplace. I’m not suggesting the concept isn’t appropriate or even needed. After all, how many school shootings can occur before you recognize the need for safety?
Ours is a trouble and broken world, but it is going to take more than all the precautions we can think of to guarantee safety. We underestimate the lengths that evil and deranged individuals will go to in an effort to orchestrate harm. I’m not suggesting that protection isn’t necessary. I just think it is a sign of the time and the times aren’t good.
I’ve probably mentioned it before, but during my childhood years, the home were we lived didn’t even have a lock on the exterior doors. As part of my dad’s nightly routine, he would latch the screen doors. Yet, none of us ever felt unsafe or threatened by the lack of a more secure system.
Contrast that with today. I can walk out the door to take the trash out and when I return, I find the door locked. Some of you will think the General is pretty clever. That is one way to orchestrate piece of mind if only for a minute. However, I eventually always get back into the house. If it were up to me, I’d never lock the doors. Half of our house is glass. If someone wants inside while we are gone, why force the uninvited intruder to break the glass? Who knows? Maybe it is insurance driven. If your doors aren’t locked, coverage is negated if someone walks into your home while you are gone and chooses to help themselves.
Maybe I’m in denial. Today I am going to embrace felt safety even if I’m not. Ignorance may be bliss, but why worry about things over which you have no control. For that matter, why worry about anything? At the end of the day, it is all in God’s hands.
All My Best!