A Sun Dial and a Swiss Watch: the Story of a Relationship

I am a sun-dial. I start and end with the sun, with light and shadow. Just as a sun-dial’s time differs from “clock” or “watch” time, so do I. Time is not important by the minute or hour, but by the event. As long as I get there, that is what really matters.  I’m all about the event and was conditioned from an early age to sit for hours on charpais (rope beds) waiting, listening, waiting, talking, waiting.  I was, and am, a sun dial.

I am married to a handsome, expensive Swiss watch. The Swiss watch is an administrator par excellence. He can remember details that are mind-boggling. He has the ability to march 25 students around Egypt, Israel, and the West Bank and run multi-million dollar programs. My Swiss watch creates order out of chaos and excels in this. No detail will be left undone.

As in any cross-cultural marriage, occasionally the sun-dial and the Swiss Watch collide, and other times they make each other crazy. When the collision occurs, it’s often about time and details. The sun didn’t come up on time, so the shadows cast their light and the sun-dial “just didn’t get it done, don’t worry about it”  Or the Swiss watch is running fast and needs to be reset back a few minutes.

But overall, this cross-cultural relationship works.

My Swiss watch allows me to be a sun-dial. It is that attention to time and detail that keeps our bank account balanced with no overdraft or overdraft fees. It is the Swiss watch that ensures FAFSA is filled out and our kids have i’s dotted and t’s crossed for financial aid from overpriced colleges. It is he that makes sure oil is changed, weird noises in the car are seen to, bills are paid on time, and that there are always enough snacks on Sunday night to keep kids lunch bags from being too empty during the week.

It’s the sun-dial that makes sure the candles are lit and flowers are in the cylinder vases in the window. It’s the sun-dial that stays up late when the kids are home making sure there are chocolate croissants rising overnight from Trader Joe’s, ensuring a delicious and leisurely breakfast. It’s the Swiss watch that makes sure we’re all at the movie on time.

It’s the sun dial who blogs at odd hours, it’s the Swiss watch who voraciously reads and says “You should blog about this!” encouraging the obsession all the while making sure said blogger is operating on Swiss watch time. A strange and wonderful partnership that ensures balance. The reality is, if I had married a sun dial, one of us would be redundant.