Here’s a detailed shot of the outfit from yesterday’s post. This photograph illustrates the role coincidence has played in my wardrobe. Fate has been kind to me—probably more so than I deserve.
A few weeks ago I pulled the trigger on a DubStrap, the preferred dressed-by-the-internet watch band. A neat idea that I’m quite fond of—I had a similar one about a year ago and let it languish (more on that in a future post). The 18mm version was sold out, which wasn’t a problem since my Timex Easy Reader takes a 20mm—or so I thought. Upon receiving the strap I discovered that my watch actually needs the smaller size. Dismayed, I put it in my dresser drawer, thinking I’d try to return it and get the other one when they restocked. Mistake made, dealt with, and forgotten.
Most days when I leave the office I stop by Finn MacCool’s, a local watering hole. It’s a part of my routine that I cherish—a chance to listen to old barflies tell their stories and watch new barflies create their own.
One gentlemen who frequents the place is especially dear to me. He’s from Mexico and his heritage has created an opportunity for me to learn about Mexican culture that I never had before. I’ve had Mexican-American friends and a few Mexican acquaintances, but never a true friend who was from Mexico. The language barrier alone (he speaks very broken English) has forced us to bond and communicate in a very unique way—facial expressions exaggerated, body language more pronounced, phrases simplified. He sometimes struggles to get across his idea, and I sometimes struggle to disabuse myself of the regional colloquialisms I picked up as the son of an Oklahoma cowboy.
He is one of the sweetest men I have ever met, kind and generous to a fault—and incredibly smart. His sensitivity is astonishing, especially in light of how non-verbal our conversations can be. More on that in a moment…
He often comments on my clothes, alternating between compliments and gentle teasing. It’s quite endearing. A few months ago, he noticed my watch (the aforementioned Easy Reader) and his eyes lit up.
“You have a Timex!? Me too!”
"Yeah, man. I have three of them."
"I love Timex. Cheap and easy, and not too bad looking at that."
"I’ll bring mine. I’ll show you my watches, I think you’ll like."
"That’d be great, buddy!"
And so began an often-comical cycle, of him noticing my watch and remembering his promise to show me his Timex collection. Keep in mind he is often lubricated by alcohol during our visits. Always the same: “oh man, I forgot the watch! I’ll go get it, you’ll see.” He’s even gone as far as to leave the bar to retrieve them, and return an hour later without them as though he forgot why he embarked on the journey in the first place. This went on for weeks, and was a source of no little amusement for me.
Late last week, we repeated the exchange, and he left Finn’s to grab the watches—but this time he actually returned with them. He had a sport watch, a gold expandable-band “grandpa watch” (what my father’s father wore his whole life), and the watch featured in the photo above.
I immediately took a liking to it, and he noticed immediately. I jokingly asked him if he wanted to trade. My Easy Reader had seen better days—last winter I got in a wrestling match with a buddy in the snow and got water in the case, causing condensation on the inside of the glass. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a reminder of the fun I had that snowy evening. The watch was also a reminder of something else far less pleasant. You see, I acquired that watch years ago through less-than-legal means, a part of my past I am deeply ashamed of. It’s the only relic I have from that period of my life, and I have held on to it as a symbol of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.
I’ve come so far, in fact, that I have lately wanted to get rid of that watch. I don’t need a reminder—I’ve moved past that to a whole ‘nother life entirely.
Without batting an eye, he agreed to trade. He took my watch, affixed it to his wrist, and admired it for a few moments, before saying “you wanted to get rid of the watch, huh?”
"Yeah man, I did."
So I told him the story of how I got the watch and why. How it was a token of a past I had left behind. How it symbolized my growth from childhood to manhood in a way few material items can. He seemed to intrinsically understand what this meant to me, this unburdening.
He smiled and said, “I am happy to be relief for you.”
To bring this back around into the #menswear arena, upon arriving back at home later that night, I discovered that this new Timex—a symbol of the “time of my life,” as it were—was precisely the right size to accommodate my unused DubStrap.
Almost like it was meant to be…