Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Awake, for morning in the bowl of night

It’s just a digital clock and it cost £8 twelve? fifteen? years ago. It has an alarm system which is never used and a dot which appears for PM and disappears for AM. Years ago the snooze button became wonky and is now held down with Sellotape (US: Scotch Tape). It sits on a chest of drawers at Mrs B’s side of the bed and I view its display turned through ninety degrees since I tend to lie in bed rather than sit up. As a result at 1:08 I see a clown with a wide open mouth, wearing a bow tie.

It was bought when we were elderly. Now we are old it plays a more important role. Sleep is a more fugitive experience and for some reason I’ve never fathomed there’s something smugly satisfying about being able to tell myself it’s now 3.15 AM and I haven’t yet slept a wink.

In the guest bedroom there’s a much more advanced clock which keeps time by tuning to radio transmissions, thus allowing for the hour going backwards and forwards and for leap years.

A related device played a more significant part in our lives when we lived in the Philadelphia suburbs and I had an early train to catch. This time the alarm was operative and switched on a radio. But what music works best for an aubade? Not classical. A Gymnopédie is tolerable but Sibelius Four proved too much of a jolt. In the end I found an MOR station playing the blandest of the bland. I backed off the volume until my transition from Morpheus to Clifton Heights was jolt-free. I once switched on the radio during the daytime I found myself unable detect hardly any sound at all from the loudspeaker.


Sir Hugh said...

I have a cd of Barenboim playing Chopin nocturnes. This is certainly very good for sending one to sleep, but it may serve your purpose if you want something gentle.

(Deuthsche Grammophon 415 117-2)

The Crow said...

I haven't read The Rubaiyat in years...not since I was a teen; must find it and re-read it again.

Thinking about clowns in the clock has that circus theme music running through my head...probably will for the rest of the day, too.



Occasional Speeder said...

01:08 is now officially the most scary time ever... We have 7 clocks in a 6 room (not inc bathrooms - very dangerous) house. That can't be right. Especially as I don't wear a watch anymore.

Plutarch said...

I can see that some people have a preference for digital clocks, which indicate the time without the context of a 12 hour conventional face further divided into minutes. My preference for analogue clocks goes back to when I relied on a clock to rouse me in order to go to work. Waking during the night, I found that without the comforting, visible and measurable distance between, let us say 3.30 am and 6.45 am, I was far more likely to be tormented by that single point of time glowing in the dark. The prospect of hands having to follow their imperceptable progress between the hours and minutes, seemed then, and still does, far less menacing.
Not all analogue clocks tick noisily and as I found to my relief, some are now battery powered.I have a clock which wakes you with the radio, but prefer the alternative peeping sound, having once been woken by the voice of a BBC radio announcer, and believed that I was having a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

A digital clock is the inspiration for http://www.timeassociation.net/ which allows you to to share associations with the numbers on the clock.