I received a gift this past Christmas from an employer I had been with for three months. I received this gift after wrapping and labeling almost every present that was exchanged in the household of eight people. I wrapped presents that arrived from Skymall with expedited shipping two days before Christmas. I wrapped presents that entered the house after a $1500 shopping trip to Target. I wrapped a cashmere scarf after taking off its expensive price tag, only to find later that it never actually made it to the recipient. I wrapped presents for the dogs and cats. I wrapped presents for all of the other close employees to the family. I almost wrapped my own present, until it was found in a pile last minute and taken to another room.
I later received my present unwrapped.
It was in a simple black box containing a massive amount of unspoken words- a simple black box that easily gave away its possession at first glance. (I had seen the other presents in the house, after all.)
“I noticed you don’t wear watches …” These were the first words vocalized upon handing over the little black box to me. My thoughts were confirmed.
I was actually happy that some attention had been paid to me and who I was. Be it my character, my mannerisms, my style of dress, or the tiny fact that I do not wear watches … at least my employer paid attention to some detail of my life- I don’t wear watches.
But if that was the only detail you ever noticed about someone, if it was the only thing you were ever able to deduce about someone- would you buy this someone a watch?
I didn’t think so.
“… so I got you one … see … this is my favorite brand of watches, I’m wearing one right now!”
I feigned something nice about her watch and held my breath as I opened the box containing my own. Perhaps it would have at least been taken into account how petite I am. Her watch looked huge on her wrist, and she was much taller and more filled out than me. Maybe this brand of watches made something, anything, that could look alright on a tiny wrist. And hopefully it wasn’t sparkly silver with lots of diamonds or rhinestones. I had already seen that watch and wrapped it for someone else. Hopefully it wasn’t being re-gifted so soon.
The first glance at my watch provided no sincerely thankful words to the gift-giver. Luckily, they weren’t necessary, as said employer just started raving about how much she liked it. She had a thing for big, and chunky, and plastic-y. The face was essentially as large as the flat of my wrist (okay, slight exaggeration, but not by far). I had no business owning such a piece of jewelry.
“Do you like it? Will you wear it?”
There was so much enthusiasm behind those sentences that I lost my own words for a moment and finally stumbled into saying thank you.
I brought that watch home with me over Christmas break and had my uncle take all the removable links out so that I could go back to work with a watch on my wrist.
And I did that exactly. For two or three long workdays in the course of three weeks, I was bothered by this bulky piece of jewelry on my left wrist that was still even a bit too large.
When the job ended, the watch lost its purpose. The little black box was its only home. And so the hopeful selling began. Multiple ads on Craigslist have elicited only spammers. No friends or acquaintances have need for such an inconvenient article. And so for eight months this watch has sat, hidden away, on a shelf.
The problem with this watch is that it retails for $200. And while I didn’t spend that money, it is worth a bit too much for me to justify just giving it away to anyone or anywhere. But at the same time, it is not fancy enough to sell to a jeweler. It is made out of something called “plasteramic.” No precious metals, no sparkles, no worth to some high-end place that buys to re-sell. This watch is stuck in the middle. And I’m stuck with it until I can find someone else in the middle who suits it.
Would you like a watch?