Time to Get a Watch


watch2I think that everyone has gotten that old crack.

Innocently, you ask someone wearing a watch, “What time is it?” “Time to get a watch,” they shoot back, smirking at their own cleverness instead of wasting three seconds to glance at their wrist and report the time.

Well, I have one thing to say to you, wise-crackers: it’s not that easy.

For weeks, almost months, I have been searching for a new watch. Armed with my wallet, I hunted in every store in this town repeatedly, both in person and online. I scoured Etsy. I browsed Pinterest. I’m fairly certain that less effort went into constructing Big Ben.

There are several complicating factors to selecting a wristwatch. My requirements: it must be polished and stylish, but casual enough for everyday wear; it needs to be durable and high-quality, but not too expensive; any metal must be silver to match my jewelry; the color of the band can’t clash with my clothes; I have a very small wrist, so the face can’t be too big. My pursuit of the perfect watch made the search for the Holy Grail look like a Disney vacation.

In my unending quest, I eventually stumbled upon a display of Hello Kitty watches. Immediately, memories of a shy, tow-headed six-year-old darted through my mind.

First grade represented a major change for me. I was leaving the friends I had been going to school with for as long as I could remember.

Me at my kindergarten graduation, posing with my diploma.
Me at my kindergarten graduation, posing with my diploma.

School would no longer be half-days. I stopped signing my papers “Cat” (my favorite animal, which is what all of my friends called me) and I started wearing a uniform.

My individuality faded into khaki almost-knee-length shorts. My personality was stifled by collared shirts. My only form of self-expression was my backpack – a pink and purple monstrosity with Hello Kitty’s serene face on it. That backpack was my sole link to the little “Ali Cat” I was in kindergarten. As I prepare for another transition in my life – college – buying a Hello Kitty timepiece seemed appropriate in a sappy, metaphorical way.

It seems like the closer I get to leaving, the more I want to retreat back into the little blonde who did an arabesque at her kindergarten graduation, who wanted to be a scientist so she could make magic potions, who dressed up as a cat every year for Halloween, and who – perhaps craziest of all – enjoyed math.

That little ballerina wants to dance one more time. She wants to pile all of her stuffed animals – all cats – on her dorm room bed and hide underneath their soft warmth. That girl is still a part of me. She is worth remembering. She is definitely worth wearing a Hello Kitty watch for. (Although, in retrospect, the Hello Kitty shirt, stuffed animal, hair accessories, and pajamas might have been a bit over the top.)

My first day of first grade! (I'm wearing the Hello Kitty backpack.)
My first day of first grade! (I’m wearing the Hello Kitty backpack.)

But I’m not that little girl anymore. Not completely. Maybe that’s another quality of a “floating shift”: learning to float along, cope with, and overcome the constant shifts and changes in life. I’ve grown. More than that, I’ve matured. I hope that I’ve become someone who is kind and respectful toward others. A hard-worker. A good friend.

I promise that I am the kind of person who will give you a straight answer if you need to know what time it is.

What time is it? Time to put your e-mail in the “Follow Blog via E-mail” box on the side of the screen! Yes, that joke was painful for me, too. I’ll watch it. Okay, just enter your e-mail, pretty please :]

So, What’s a Floating Shift?

“So, what’s a floating shift?”

I started hearing this question a lot after serving as a high school mentor for my government club’s Junior Assembly. The focus of this assembly is for middle schoolers to participate in mock government, primarily brainstorming ideas for laws and debating them. However, students can also participate in the “unofficial branch of government”: press. As the only member of the state Press Corps PRESSent, I headed up press. (Sorry, for the bad pun; I couldn’t resist. Usually I’m on the dePRESSing end of press puns, which people tell me, I assume, exPRESSly to hear how loud I can groan. Okay, I’m done.)

Tiring, yet amazing, those five days meant a lot to me. Two of the students who stayed in my cabin were inspired to try press in high school, I was looking forward to being a media delegate at an upcoming national conference, had high hopes for being chosen as state Editor-in-Chief at the next State Assembly (which is the high school version of Junior Assembly), and I also had my first experience with blogging.

With my younger sister, Mackenzie, and I gone, my parents took the opportunity to rent a beach house in Anna Maria Island, where Dad took us after the assembly ended.

I could tell Mom was holding in a surprise as soon as we stepped out of the car. Partially because she was brimming over with excitement (which, in retrospect, could have been joy at having her daughters again) and partially because her first words were, “I’m so glad to see you! How was your week? I have something for you!”

It was a ring that she found in a local shop, Really Relish, which features upcycled and vintage wares. The ring was made of a typewriter key atop a beautiful vintage setting. The key read “floating shift”. “Floating” was in a flowing script cursive while “shift” was printed in small, no-nonsense letters.

I wondered what a “floating shift” was. Fortunately (and unfortunately) with the assistance of Google, few things remain secret (or private) for long. I found pictures of typewriters with a “floating shift” key. I found an article on about.com asking what a “floating shift” did (there was no reply). I even found pictures of more “floating shift” key rings, necklaces, and bracelets. I searched “floating shift functions” and “floating shift purpose”.

I could not find the purpose of a “floating shift” key.

I consulted my dictionary app. It listed floating clouds, floating dock, floating heart, (did reading that scare you as much as it did me?) floating screed, (no clue what that is) floating stock, floating vote, but no floating shift. Floating (according to definition #2) means “having no or little attachment to a particular place; moving from one place to another.” Shift has 28 meanings. (Who would’ve guessed?) However, I know that in typing, the shift key is used to capitalize letters.

By this definition, I consider myself a floating shift. I capitalize on random (usually irrelevant) objects, places, people, or ideas relevant to my life. For example, I could write on the trials of being a teenage kindergarten teacher, how to knit a 3-inch panda, or create a necklace using a water bottle.

What exactly does it mean to be a floating shift? That’s the point; it’s a mystery. I’m not entirely sure. Yet. Hey, I’m in high school; I’m trying to figure out a lot of things.

But I can’t wait to find out!