One of the civil servant type jobs way long ago, when cities had walls around them, was the job of watchman or sentinel.  These were guys (and they were male guys) who stood on the walls and watched the horizon for activity that should be transmitted to the town's leadership.  Fires, storms, armies approaching, delegations from other cities, etc.  The sentinel was the first to see and was charged with making sure the news got to where it needed to go in a timely fashion.  And of course told everyone what time it was (and whether or not all was well).

I think it would be helpful to have a personal sentinel.  I guess people used to have personal secretaries or valets or whatever to attend to daily care and daily tasks that needed to be dealt with by some action (run the bath, write the letter).  Nowdays most of us feel pretty competent and can run our own baths and write our own letters.  But I think having a personal sentinel might be useful.

The sentinel of course wouldn't just sit on your front lawn and check for approaching marauders.  The job would have to be more attuned to our modern society than that.  The sentinel would be the one to scan the horizon in a more nuanced but still comprehensive way.  For example, the sentinel could let you know when your relatives are on their way for a visit, perhaps by monitoring their Facebook pages for you.  The sentinel could stave off those requests from out of the blue that are actually going to become some kind of quagmire (would you be in charge of the 25th class reunion?) or at least give you enough notice that you'd have time to conveniently plan a cruise for that same weekend.  The sentinel would stay on top of the budding church fight or school problem, take note of the comings and goings of neighbors who might be headed to the hospital or bringing home new pets and babies, notice when the flowers at the gardening center are in stock and on sale, and bring in news from the internet on whatever topics are of particular interest.  It would just be nice to have someone warn you when something is on its way toward you, for good or for ill.

Needless to say, a really good sentinel, just like the sentinels in days of old, would of course work on multiple fronts.  If in the old days one watched out for weather, armies, animals, gifts, relatives and friends, and supplies plus general oddities, then the modern sentinel would be able to be on watch on all fronts - the children, parents, work, social, religious, and whatever other fronts are part of your life.

Yep, I think I would like having a sentinel.


Rev Elizabeth said…
That's not a bad idea!
As for conkers:
The seed of the horse chestnut threaded onto string to use in a game!