Friday, March 9, 2012


March 9, 2012
I guess I need to take care not to do anything too wacky, since I am apparently an awesome trend setter. Here is proof from Politico:  
While in St. Petersburg, Fla., for a fundraiser Wednesday night, Vice President Joe Biden got a compliment on his red necktie.

Rather than just thanking the donor and moving on, Biden admired the man's purple tie, a pool report said. Then, in a moment of Biden being Biden, he suggested that they swap ties. And, in the midst of a photo line where donors paid $1,000 apiece to pose with the vice president, the two men did just that.
Of course, the Vice President takes his cues from me, because not only did I come home from Houston with a new watch, I didn't even make it all the way through last weekend before someone swapped with me again.  Here is my new Timex flex band.  The swatch has moved on.  I kind of feel like I belong to the sisterhood of the traveling watch.

Some of you had some good questions about the original swap.  
Jan wrote:  
Vickie -- your life certainly is not dull! But in all fairness -- if the new watch keeps time, then (assuming YOURS did, which seems likely) the Venn diagrams should have overlapped -- just as teensy teensy bit. I have a lot of really serious questions for God when I get to heaven (and many of them have to do with neuroblastoma and kids) -- but I will be curious to know the answer to this one too (who knows, perhaps you just passed the Matthew 5:41-42 challenge!)

Jan, you are right, of course.  My Venn diagram was inaccurate.  The swatch did appear to keep time, although because of the unusual face and lack of digits, I didn't ever really know what time it was (and I would write a song about it, if Chicago hand't already beat me to it).  As for Matthew 5:41-42, I suspect you weren't supposed to get a vintage item in exchange for your effort.

Brooke wrote:

That's great Vickie! I love stories like that! The swatch is SO much more playful, and over there in business, y'all need to play more. Seriously, y'all have nothing on the educators. So, for whatever reason, I'm glad. It should entertain your students too!

I'm not sure I'd claim to need to play more, and I'm positive that Walter wouldn't agree.  His favorite family legacy quote is "Work makes life sweet" or as he will say in German "Arbeit macht das Leben sub."

In fact, I relatively sure I am pretty Libra-like on balancing work and play, BUT, you are exactly right about entertaining my students.  I have a student who collects watches that has promised to keep the watches traveling by doing an exchange the week after spring break.  At this point, I can't really tell if I am trading up and will eventually find myself with a diamond crusted Rolex, or down, where I will end up with a watch from a cereal box.

Anonymous wrote:

Okay, Vickie, you're going to HAVE to give us a little more info. Pleeeeeeze don't leave us hanging like this. Zactly how did this little exchange happen?

Similarly, Erin F. wrote:

I, too, need more details about this event. It's just too odd. Where were you? Did the owner of your watch say anything to you as she made this switch? Did she know that 29 February is not the same as 1 April? Is this a person you are likely to see again? Do you think "her" watch is truly her watch or does it belong to whoever she had dinner with on 28 February? Also, you are one of the most well-spoken, diplomatic people I know. I wonder what prevented you from negotiating your watch back. Enquiring minds want to know!

As I said in my original post, I'm not really sure what happened.  I have known the woman slightly for almost thirty years, but have never spent much time together.  I do not know her well.  She worked in the corporate headquarters of a downtown Houston bank and has since retired.  She seemed either to have a quirky personality (consistent with playing a subtle practical joke) OR she seemed to have started that mental slide down that we all would like to avoid.

In either case, as we sat there at dinner, my friend to my left was engaged in a conversation with the person on his left, leaving me to chat with the woman on my right.  As the conversation lagged, I noticed her watch (which she wore on her right arm), and since a plastic banded, vintage swatch seemed a little incongruous and perhaps would lead to an interesting story (little did I know?), I admired it, hoping it would launch us into a new conversational direction.

She took it off and began explaining the background of the designer (maybe Renzo Piano, inspired by Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini).  BINGO, I thought.  I struck pay dirt, and I could listen and enjoy my St. Arnold's without having to strain to make conversation.  Except then she started insisting that I should keep it.  

"No, of course, I can't keep your watch," I insisted.  But she wanted me to see how it would look on my arm, so before I could figure out what to do next (remember, I'm thinking this is just a joke or she's around the bend), she had my watch off my arm, and hers in its place.  Then, mine is on her arm.  Then, the food arrives and the conversation spreads tablewide rather that in tete-a-tetes, and there didn't seem to be any comfortable way to make the switch back happen.  If it was a joke, she would swap back in her own good time, after revealing my naivety.  If she was a little batty, then I sure didn't want to call attention to it over a congenial meal.

And so, that really is all I know, except that Davis thought this was a brilliant and funny story and encouraged me to offer whatever watch I wearing to anyone who admired it, to keep the trend going.  So, at church on Sunday, I was telling the story of how I came to wear a watch that didn't particularly suit me, and the person I was talking to, peeled her watch off her arm.  She waggled it at me and then said, I really like your watch.   So, for now I have a Timex.

The next time I write, I promise it will be about something else.  I feel a blog coming on about writing education.


  1. Still think this is such a great story! I love Swatch watches and have one very similar to the one you now have lol....

  2. All I can think is that Erin has got to be grinning hugely over this whole swatched out scenario.