I was in a train yesterday when I heard an adult male voice across the aisle and slightly behind me say:
“…and it’s got one to twelve on it because it’s divided into twelve hours and when this pointer is at 9 and the other pointer is just coming up to 7…”
He seemed to be explaining how a clock worked.
This seemed a little surreal.
I looked across and slightly back and, sure enough, the young man – in his early twenties or, maybe very late teens – was talking to his two friends – of similar age.
They all looked like they might holiday in Torremolinos for the sun, sex and club discos.
The man who was talking had his left arm raised, pointing to the watch on his wrist with his right forefinger.
It was an analogue watch with a fairly large round face and his friends looked genuinely interested.
These were not children.
These were nightclub-going Essex type adults.
The man with the watch started explaining how the longer pointer showed the minutes and the shorter pointer showed the hours.
This got more and more mind-warping for me until I realised – guessed – that maybe – just maybe – he and his friends had never actually seen an analogue watch before.
Maybe – just maybe – they had grown up and lived their entire lives only seeing the time displayed digitally – on watches, on mobile phones, on TV screens.
They must surely have seen the clock face of ‘Big Ben’ on a TV screen at some point in their lives but – hey! – maybe they just thought it was some decorative whim at the top of the tower.
I felt very old.
I grew up in a world of primitive, long ago technology – analogue watches – as old and dead and near-forgotten as Latin.
Fugit inreparabile tempus.