Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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Road Signs – My dad’s time machine

Why do so many of us like vintage/retro things? I recently found my 92-year-old dad’s Seiko Alarm Chronograph watch that he received as a retirement present after 37 years of teaching. My wife and I discovered it in a drawer of other stuff while moving my dad from the house he lived in for nearly 60 years to a townhouse less than a mile away from us so we could help out more.

I don’t think he wore it much, since it’s in perfect shape. And a trip to the local watch store for a new battery was all it took to get it working again. I really like the retro ’80s stainless-steel style and digital look. It’s a great retro watch, if you’re into such things. But why do I get the warm and fuzzies when I strap it on and check the time?

I’ve discovered that as I get older, the more I’m interested in older things. For example, when I was a child of the ’60s, I could hardly wait for the ’70s or ’80s to happen. I was in a rush to get my driver’s license, fall in love, start a rock band, take over the world (oops!). But the first time I listened to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in high school it really struck home. Time is finite. Time runs faster than you think. There’s no turning back Time…

Pink Floyd’s “Time”

Click the album graphic below to listen

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
 
Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Fast forward to now!

But now I find that nostalgia has taken over my mad rush to the future. While I still look forward to the newest iPhone or digital mixing board, or electric vehicle, I’m more than content to let time take its good ‘ol time. Somehow the mortal me has figured out that each new development represents one more “tick” in the big “tock” of life.

Hit Rewind!

I know there’s a few scientific and biochemical reasons that we hit rewind button back to our formative years when we first discovered music, love, driving, etc. But that can’t possibly explain the rush of emotions we feel when we recall memories of our childhood.

I can vividly remember doing my first electrical experiment at the age of 4, when I took the light bulb out of the Lionel train engine I just got for Christmas and connected it to a 1.5-volt dry cell with a paper clip. I was sitting in the front hall closet of my parent’s house in Newark, Delaware, and when I got the bulb to light I suddenly understood the power of electricity. Same for taking my driver’s license test in a borrowed VW Beetle. Or the time I got my dad’s 4-wheel-drive Jeep stuck in the woods by hanging it up on the transmission with all four wheels in the air. I remember these events like it was yesterday, but some of them were actually 60+ years.

I could spend all day just remembering all the bands and clubs I played in, starting at the age of 15. A few months ago I revisited the members of my first real band – Crystal Palace. I played in that band more than 50 years ago, and yet I was able to recite what guitars, amplifiers and microphones everyone used as well as many of our set lists and clubs we played in when I was 16 years old. By the time I was 22, I had the largest rock band in the area with a 50kW lighting system and 5,000 watt PA I built myself, literally.

My memories from long ago are very detailed

Yes, that’s a publicity drawing of me from my band Draco in 1976. And I remember all of it! So, why can I remember the most intimate details of those events, but if I need to go to the store for a few items I can’t remember more than three things on my mental shopping list? Ugh!

I don’t know, but it’s okay. However, I do know that whenever I feel tired or bored or overwhelmed with the present I can just hit the rewind button to take a trip to the past in my mind. And all I need is a trigger like my dad’s watch, and I’m reliving past adventures in my own private Time Tunnel.

Hope you get to do that as well….


Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.

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tom
1 month ago

“If I could save time in a bottle….”

Mike Sokol
1 month ago
Reply to  tom

What a great song…

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save everyday ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend it with you

Mike Hancock
1 month ago

I performed my first electrical experiment at the age of 5 by removing a light bulb from a lamp and sticking my finger in the socket. It was shocking but memorable. I never repeated the experiment.

Mike Sokol
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Hancock

It’s all part of the learning process.😁