There was a time when people lived without clocks. They awakened, ate, played, slept in a rhythm maintained by the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun. But then something happened, socially and technologically. Now we are expected to be places and do things at times designated by others, and now we must have a timepiece in order to accommodate these expectations. Receiving one’s first watch is a kind of introduction to adulthood, though kids usually don’t know it. (I can remember how thrilled I was to get my first wristwatch.)
I can see now that entering the world of watches and clocks involves a kind of captivity. I’ve been wearing a watch longer than any ring, and my most frequent gesture of the day is to rotate my wrist and check the time.