Counter clockBill's Briefs, Bottom Highlights, Latest Issue Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
A few Briefs ago I related the story of my partner in my apartment hearing a voice telling him how to resuscitate my antique clock that had stood silent for several months.
I’m sure, many of you who have anxiously awaited an update will be happy with the news my beloved timepiece is gonging away perfectly. But hold on to your hat, boys and girls, there’s more!
The story starts 20 years ago in a Tokyo back alley (No, not that kind of story). My partner and I encountered a gentleman selling off the cuff (literally) then newly fashionable solar watches. He explained he had just found a box of them newly fallen off a truck. He offered them to us at an amazing price which we couldn’t refuse. Our identical purchases worked as promised for six days. Mine then died, never to tick (or tock) again. His, however, has worked perfectly for two decades, stopping just last fall.
The usual shaking, coaxing and pleading were to no avail. It lay nestled in the “things to be thrown out, but not yet” drawer amongst the ink-less ball pens, dead batteries and expired coupons.
This past January he had a dream in which he heard the same inner voice as before. He was instructed to re-set the watch; but here’s the catch, he was to do it turning the hands counter clock-wise. Again he obeyed, put the watch in the window to catch the sun and within an hour it started ticking and hasn’t stopped.
Crazy, but true; reminding us that the unexplained, both good and bad, is interesting, but nothing more. Life’s whys and wherefores are never-ending. At our age, we should have learned it is pointless to waste time and tears pondering the imponderable. Go with the flow.
Change the viewpoint
During my trip to Japan the anticipated joy of viewing the old and familiar was diminished by the simple reason much of it had been replaced by the new and unknown.
How upsetting it is, especially to seniors, when one visits old haunts and finds the awaited nostalgia thwarted by change. Luckily my mood shifted after a few days when we visited a vintage neighborhood we had always found to be of great charm and delight.
On arrival, however, it was evident “our” shops, restaurants, nooks and crannies had been either torn down or tarted up to such a modernity as to be almost unrecognizable. Shocked by this desecration, we sat on a bench in a new grassy area to catch our breath.
I then slowly became aware of the newly planted flower beds and trees and the whole encircling panorama came into focus. Grudgingly, I realized how nice the shops and restaurants were and that the old places although re-done had managed to retain much of their quaintness and appeal.
We decided to stay and stroll through the rest of this new domain. Unconsciously, I shifted my thinking to tourist mode and looked for the new and interesting, no longer searching for the once familiar. What a difference this new attitude made for the rest of my visit.
When a recognizable sight was encountered, I savored the memories, but regarded it as an unexpected bonus.
My advice is to do as I am trying to do and admit, like it or not, the world has changed and delight in the differences, the new. Do not pine over what can never be or seen again. When pieces of the past do appear, of course reminisce and enjoy. But face it; as Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.”
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