Two years ago my sister and her partner of 10 years met two of their friends on the steps of the registry office on a Friday in February. The four of them had come to take part in a secret ceremony. They walked into the office, where a registrar performed the rite. The two friends – in fact they were work colleagues – were the witnesses. And my sister and her partner were the subjects. After the brief ceremony they were now civil partners, and the four of them went out for lunch to celebrate. My sister and sister-in-law picked up the bill to say thanks to their friends for taking part in their special day.
Around the time my last watch began to lose the hour and fail even with new batteries I realised I didn’t really need it anyway. I carry my phone with me everywhere, and it tells the time perfectly. I’m at a desk most of the day: the time is shown on my computer screen and a wall nearby. The street is filled with people carrying the time who would be happy to help me if I needed to know it. I don’t need to wear the time on my own wrist too.
Some people like to wear a watch as an item of jewellery. They like the design and the things it says about them. I’m not really bothered. Some watches are handsome, but a watch is just an extra bit hanging off me that I don’t need, like the clumps of hair that grow out of my nose. I just get rid of them.