As I sit at my computer typing away, I keep an eye on the time. I have the little clock showing in the system tray but I don’t like it very much. Why not? Well, because it’s digital.
Now, of course, there is nothing wrong with digital clocks and watches and if you are happy with yours, I wouldn’t dream of criticising. I have a digital alarm clock of which I am very fond. Tigger bought it for me years ago and among its virtues are that it is radio-controlled (and therefore keeps perfect time as well as changing automatically between summer and winter time) and that I can see the time in the dark by pressing a button on the top which causes the clock face to light up.
As you know, we travel quite a lot and these days, anyone who consults train timetables needs to be conversant with time as expressed in the digital 24-hour format. I can manage this perfectly well but I still don’t like it.
Maybe it has something to do with education. When I was young, I learned to tell the time on a proper clock, a clock with a round face, with the numbers 1 to 12 around it and two hands to indicate the hours and the minutes.
In fact, I learned to tell the time on the very family clock pictured here, a proper clock, if ever there was one.
Clocks used to be called simply “clocks” but since we have had digital clocks, we have had to find a name for the old-fashioned kind. The industry has taken to calling them “analogue clocks”, a technically correct if rather clumsy term.
My reason for disliking digital clocks is that I don’t find them as intuitive as the traditional clock. I only need glance at the latter to know whether it is lunchtime or to reassure myself that I am not late for an appointment. With a digital clock, I have to “translate” the reading, perhaps by imagining a traditional clock showing the same time. Once I do this, everything clicks into place and I know what time it is. Otherwise, what is showing on the clock is just a number.
Yesterday, I remembered that I had a watch stashed away in a drawer. It’s a analogue watch and it’s radio-controlled. So I got it out and it now sits on top of the LaCie external drive. Looking at the time on the watch makes more sense to me than looking at the digital display in the system tray. Maybe I should hide this and have done with it.
In case you are wondering why there are two plastic ladybirds keeping the watch company, it’s because the other three are out of sight on the other side of the computer 🙂
I don’t much mind whether clocks have Roman numerals or Arabic numerals but, strange to say, I prefer numbers to just blobs or, worse still, a totally blank face. I think this is because to me, the word “face” is very appropriate. I see clocks as having faces like people do. Each one is individual and recognizable. Some look happy, some serious, still others miserable. No, I don’t really think clocks are alive and feel emotions! I’m too much of a rationalist for that but I do find something calm and pleasant about the gentle ticking of a clock in a quiet room.