Sometimes, I have daydreams of being a swaggering space commander. I might be on a planet of rampaging lava monsters with only a squirt gun when what I really need is a firetruck hose. Or, I can be stranded in a small shuttle; life and life support systems would flicker as I circle the event horizon of a black hole. Seconds could be counting down before the singularity and it’s gravity stretches me into an infinite noodle. At those moments, I would raise my wrist to my lips, press a button on my watch, and say “Beam me up, Scotty.”
Yes, that’s a Star Trek quote, and yes, both my mind and my daydreams can get that silly. That absurdity, though, led me to buying a digital watch six months ago. I was extremely curious about being able being able to text and make phone calls by having a device attached to my wrist. It all sounded like something you could read about in a vintage sci-fi novel. Turns out, real life is nothing like that.
As for the watch, I found one while browsing the downtown Changzhou’s mobile phone markets. This is Youdian Road 邮电路near Injoy Mall, a BRT stop, and the statue of a woman riding a horse. The road has a number of retail spaces filled with people sitting behind glass cases and kiosks. All three of my Huawei phones were purchased here — with the aid of Chinese friends who could haggle on my behalf. These markets are where people should by their new phones — not at expensive and over-priced foreign department stores like Walmart or Metro.
As for the no-brand name digital watch, I got what I paid 200 RMB for. I could make and receive calls from it, but I still had to have my main phone with me at all times. The watch had to linked to the mobile through a Bluetooth. In theory, I could get text and WeChat messages though it, but the interface screen was so small that epic typos were inevitable. It also had a camera, and that sounds all James Bond and spy-tastic, but the camera was awkward to use. It involved twisting my wrist at odd angles. Plus, the eventual photos were too grainy and low-res.
In the end, the watch became nothing more than a conversation topic, and the novelty of that wore off rather quickly. As for the black hole, I am not circling it. The rampaging lava monsters are a figment of my imagination, and I am no swaggering space commander. I am just a college English teacher with a blog. The digital watch is in a drawer, and haven’t worn it in six months.