A Time to Kill

For 17 years, I was a serial hamster killer. It wasn't an intentional thing; I think it's entirely possible I was cursed by my crazy grandmother who had a penchant for channeling George Washington and/or The Prince of Darkness. No, not Ozzy, you stoner. The other one. No matter the why: if you were a hamster and you ended up in my house it was not a question of if, but rather when, you'd end up getting stuck in the wall for a few weeks/getting dropped one too many times/being thrown across the room when you crawled across my neck in the middle of the night/sliding down the heating duct and roasting like Chirstmas dinner/chewing your own leg off to escape us. I could go on. Dozens of hamsters died on my watch. 

When I grew older and they wouldn't sell me rodents anymore, I moved on to Cookie Carnage. I can bake the most insanely complicated holiday Yule Logs and the most delicate thank-god-you're-lactose-tolerant cheesecakes, but when it comes to cookies, I may as well have had a machete and a hockey mask. The cookies I baked for birthday parties were rock hard and the ones I baked for Santa disintegrated on the cookie sheet - and those are just the drop cookies. Rolled cookies? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Grown men have wept at my cookies. Children have run, crying for their mothers. 

Then I got a cell phone. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. The very first day I got my very first cell phone, I dropped it in a toilet in Aurora, Colorado. Since then, I have gruesomely murdered at least two dozen cell phones. I left my first pink Motorola X on the hood of my car in Denver, CO, trying to put groceries in the trunk. I dropped my second one in False Creek, Vancouver, BC, trying to take pictures of my now sister-in-law's dragon boats. The trail of broken phones, dropped and shattered while getting into cars and getting out of cars, walking down the street, or just standing there doing nothing at all, spans much of the southwest of the USA, and several scenic locations along the West Coast.  


For a brief time in Arizona, I tried my hand at Handbag Homicide, but the sight of the one and only Gucci bag I will ever own flattened by a 30 minute onslaught of oncoming traffic was enough to scare me straight. 

I've never been much of a watch person. When I was younger, I had a calculator watch. I loved that watch. I wanted to shave my fingertips down to sharp, pointy stubs so that my watch and I would have the most symbiotic relationship possible. The cool kids who threw really good punches in grade 4 didn't love my watch as much as I did, however, so I retired it and instead imagined myself entirely too cool to be tethered to the constraints of something as arbitrary as, like, time. Unfortunately, the constraints of time directly correlate to the constraints of payday, so I probably couldn't have afforded a watch anyway.

When I was older, I didn't ever wear a watch because watches only do one thing, and I was a young mother of two small boys. You had to serve at least two simultaneous functions in my life for me to even acknowledge you existed. 

AT&T (@ATT) sent Jim and me Pebble watches to try out and we spent the first few weeks texting each other ridiculously love notes to and from our wrists, as we do. It was lovely and is still - as far as I am concerned - the single best thing about having a smartwatch. No matter what meeting he is in, or how stuck in airport security he is, I know he will get the 8,502th sappy romantic emoticon I've sent him this week. These things matter. 

But second-best to more-efficiently harassing some cute guy I met online is the fact that this watch is actually saving me from Mobile Murder. I was walked though San Francisco a few weeks ago, on my way to a client meeting and waiting for another client to call me before my next meeting. I was in high heels on cobblestone, chugging a coffee, rushing from one meeting to the next, hanging on to my phone so I'd feel it ring and not miss the call I was waiting for. My laptop bag was throwing me off-balance, and what it wasn't doing, the cobblestone was. I almost dropped my phone three times before I remembered that my watch would vibrate when the call came in. I didn't have to flail about Union Square, scaring the tourists, tempting fate. I could tuck my phone safely in my bag and not miss a thing. So many helpless phones could have been spared, had the Pebble only been invented 10 years previous.

The ability to reach someone via their wrist is completely underrated. I can't tell you how many times I have called and called and called and called my 14 year old but have gotten no answer because he left his phone in bed or by the toilet or outside in the driveway for me to run over when I get home. I pay $50 a month to a phone provider for the privilege of never getting through to this kid.

So his dad and I bought him a Pebble, too. 


Jim wrote about a bunch of other Pebble features that we both really love, like being able to check a text at the movies and not worried about getting shot, or being able to screen phone calls discreetly, or convincing the kids their dear old great grandmother has possessed their television set. It also has a great fitness/running app in it that works with your phone to notify you of your progress during a run and then shows the map of your path after, and it even pings you later with encouragement to do better the next time. I know this because I've used it exactly once. If you want, I can tell you how long it takes before it gives up on you. 

I was switching out the watchfaces every week or so, but I've landed on a steady rotation of Calculus and Fuzzy. They're everything I've ever wanted from a watch - something to show my geek streak, and something to let me keep pretending like I am too cool to care what time it is.

Of course I tried to kill this thing, because we are who we are, after all. I took it in the shower, but it turns out, you can totally shower with it on or bath your kid with it on or wash the dishes with it on or sit in the hot tub with it on. 

So I don't know what I'm going to kill next. I've gone from living creatures to baked goods to personal technology. Maybe there is no next; maybe I'm a changed person. I can bake a decent cookie now, I have a watch I really love wearing, and I haven't broken a phone in months. Maybe it's time to start gardening or something.