For years Mickey was comatose. I honestly thought he was dead because he wasn’t as young as he looked and hadn’t shown any signs of life for over thirty years.
Mickey is close to fifty. He came into my life when I was thirteen and adorned my wrist everyday for a couple of formative years in my teens before he was relegated to the bottom of my jewelry box. That’s where arthritis set in and Mickey began to stiffen up.
Every few years I would take Mickey out, look at his smiling face, his stick arms and those big yellow-gloved hands and I would smile because Mickey always made me smile. I don’t remember wanting him, but somehow he became mine. Somehow my mother decided that he would be my birthday present that year. I can only remember two birthday presents from my teen years, and Mickey was my favourite. The other, a charm bracelet a couple of years later, was also my mother’s idea; and I did not like it. Though, like Mickey, I still have it, tucked away in that same old jewelry box that now resides on a shelf at the top of my closet. Believe it or not, I can sometimes be sentimental.
Once, when JT was about four-years old, I showed him Mickey. What kid wouldn’t love Mickey? I was like a lot of parents and thought my kid was more mature and responsible than he really was. I left him and Mickey together unsupervised for a couple minutes. Mickey was pretty stiff, and JT decided to wind the knob until he couldn’t wind it any more. What kid wouldn’t try to turn that knob? One of my many stupid-mom moments. That’s it, I thought, Mickey is really broken now. I returned him to the jewelry box where he remained for many years.
A couple of years ago I decided that I would like to have Mickey repaired. Easier said than done. No one wants to repair an almost fifty-year-old, wind-up Timex watch. Can’t get parts they said. It’s a Timex, they said, no one repairs Timex watches. Timex doesn’t repair old Timex watches because Timex is no longer a company, it is just a name. Then one person said, try Doctor Clock.
Doctor Clock is a wonderful shop on Bilby Street in the north end of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Quite the little surprise to come upon. Outside it is lovely because it is so clean and contained, more stately than industrial, behind an attractive iron fence. Inside, clocks, watches and other timepieces are displayed in an fairly uncluttered and understated showroom.
Doctor Clock has been selling, servicing and restoring timepieces since 1960. They are the people who take care of Halifax’s iconic Town Clock.
“I think it’s been wound too tight,” I said after handing Mickey across the counter to the man who had just introduced himself as Sam.
“What makes you think that?” Sam said, while winding my watch. “It appears to be working now. How about we keep an eye on it for a few days to see if it keeps going.”
When Sam called and said that Mickey had been cleaned and lubricated and seemed to be working just fine, all I could think about was dopamine and the 1990 Robin Williams movie, Awakenings, where all the comatose patients wake up after taking the drug. I had tried to wind up Mickey many times over the years, but he didn’t respond. I didn’t have any dopamine or any magic in my fingers. I couldn’t turn the knob. In reality I think I was afraid to turn the knob so would briefly try to make it move between my thumb and finger then stop because I felt resistance.
Sam is a horologist, a person skilled in the practice or theory of horology, which is the study and measurement of time. A horologist is also a maker of clocks and watches. Horologist. Horology. I love these words. I love the fact that I learned these new words and just had to share them in this post.
According to Sam, you can’t wind a watch too tight. A watch, he says, is like a car. If something is going to go wrong with a car, it will likely happen when the car is running. If something is going to go wrong with a wind-up timepiece, it is going to happen when it is being wound because of all the tension placed on the parts during the winding process. But Mickey, Sam said, wasn’t broken, he was just stiff. Had he been broken, he would still be broken because you really can’t get parts for a Timex.
I can’t help but wonder whether anyone else, especially the company that sent my watch away to be looked at before saying they couldn’t fix it, bothered to try to wind Mickey up. Or did they just look at his everyday-drugstore-watch name and decide that they couldn’t be bothered because after all, he was just a cheap, unrepairable Timex. They obviously couldn’t see how beautiful he was and that he deserved a closer look and perhaps a little careful caressing to see if he would come alive. No one but Sam at Doctor Clock decided to do that.
So thanks to Doctor Clock, I am happy to announce that Mickey is alive and well and sporting a brand new strap that makes him appear all grownup. Sam told me that Mickey is vintage, and that he should avoid water. I think he will go very nicely on the wrist of this vintage bitch when she isn’t near water. She will be able to easily read his large numbers without wearing glasses. Mickey will be on hand (or on wrist) to share some very formative retirement years.
If you would like more information about Doctor Clock visit their website: http://www.doctorclock.com. You will be happy to learn that they make house calls for patients with mobility issues!