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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'm losing my mind a little. Do you know what time I was supposed to be here?

There are a lot of things that I’m realizing about myself now that I’ve moved. Maybe with more light you see things more clearly. One is that I have been needlessly being a bitch during most of my waking hours for the past several years. Okay, it's true that I was utterly, hopelessly claustrophobic in my job and in my house to the point of wanting to headbutt my way out of reality, and now I feel like I’m finally out of prison, but still.

Another realization I've had is that I’ve spent far too many years acting like clocks and watches were for pussies.

So, tickety tock, I bought a new clock.

It’s a beautiful brass and metal German antique clock from the 1950s. It's in the shape of a starburst which makes me feel all hip and in-the-know decoration wise. But best of all, it has the most lusciously subtle whispering tick tock you’ve ever heard and listening to it is like Earl Grey and cashmere and bubble baths and pine-scented candles and chicken enchiladas and sunsets and foot rubs reformulated as the sound waves of a metronome.

When I sit on the sofa I don’t want any bullshit electronic gadgets jacking up my tick tock time. Not like Luisito. Luisito has to have some gadget carcinogenisizing my oxygen every waking second of the day (but I'm turning over the nice leaf so I don't yell, I just drown everything out but the tick tock). But when he's cooped himself up in his office, fabricating homemade 3D glasses or planning his robot project, I sit in almost-silence with only the tick tocking of my new timekeeper to be heard. The sound of finely gauged progress over the sundial is all I need; to hell with nanotechnology and interceptors and shufflers. I don’t even want any music. I only want my tick tock.

Tick tock reminds me of the clock in my grandparents home that used to bewitch me and calmly terrorize me with its swinging pendulum. I would stand before it on an almost-silent-yet-ticking Sunday afternoon when there were no lights on in the house, but the sunlight would pour through the Frank Loyd Wright style skylights above and into the entryway where the clock patriarched over the rest of the furniture and the light would make shadows all over the bluish porcelain statues spangling the neighboring shelves. I imagined unlocking it's chamber and slipping my lanky skinny body inside and coming out the other end where there would be another world beyond it, a melty flowery surreal world, with crystalline streams and pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Maybe one where everyone was a centaur or people served you Turkish Delight from sleds or where you could drink some potion and become really small or really big or you could cross into an enchanted forest and ride through it on the back of a tortoises where you would only survive because you would find a nice cow that you could milk or a giant white dog looking thing would give you a sky-ride to a princess where you could fathom one grain of sand.

But tick tock also reminds me of the clock in my house when I was in high school, a mini grandfather clock because my mom was trying to be fancy when she bought it and thought it would go well with the cherry wood entertainment center that was way too nice for everything else in our house. This clock in particular and I were engaged in a constant game of wits as I pushed the gas pedal to the floor in my Toyota Corolla racing myself home on the freeway from my boyfriend's house in the wee wee hours. That clock usually won and would proceed to ruin my life every time I came in past curfew bracing myself for another encounter with one teary-faced mother who was taking it very hard that I no longer did what she said.

When I was in college, I decided I was done with clocks altogether and I even swore myself off watches. At that point all they did was remind me of how incompetent I was, of my total lack of organization and they impulsed me to feel that frantic panic of running late every time I needed to be anywhere. I used to talk about how timepieces in general represented some kind of human bondage. God was I ever pretentious when I was in college. I wish I could wind the clock back, oh a good twelve years or so and stuff a sock in my mouth and tie myself up and force-listen myself to the tick tocking while erasing my brain of the cliches I'd learned that I didn't know were cliches. That shit would get reprogrammed quick like.

Now? Now my clock feels like home for better or worse and grounds me in something I fully accept as mine. It makes my future gain its will to glow again. But at the same time it makes me panic slightly and feel like I'm running late for something really fucking important that I don't know how I've managed to not show up on time for. I feel like I've been hitting snooze for several years.

I know now why real grown ups have a real ticking clock in their homes and I understand why twenty one year olds that don't have to worry about anything other than if they are going to drink Four Peaks that night or Tom Collins don't. Real grown ups need to be reminded, subconsciously that time is actually moving, even if you act like an a-hole for five years pretending it isn’t.

Tick tock. I already miss my new home, because I know someday I’ll move from it. I know the landlord will want the flat back long before we are ready to leave, or maybe, if things aren't entirely fucked, our family won’t be so small anymore. I wonder how many ticks that clock will breathe in and how many tocks it will breathe out before that happens, if it ever does.

So now I’m on the market for a watch, preferably with subtle tickage.

And you know what else? I want to see an infertility specialist (or is it a fertility specialist?). Because I'm 33 years old and and I fear my clockwork may need repair. Luisito doesn't want to because he thinks we're maybe just wound up too tight causing our hands to spiral backwards frantically, not allowing our mechanics to function properly at all. But I wonder if there isn't some spring that's been dislodged or a wheel that's been rusted, or maybe the wheels' teeth aren't matching up properly due to misuse.

On the other hand, maybe we're a time mechanism that is set to a fucking explosive.

Or maybe I'm a perpetual motion machine that's has suddenly been told that perpetual motion was disproved by physicists.


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Pueblo girl March 2, 2010 at 10:17 AM  

Maybe you (or Luisito) have a wise body that's been waiting for you to find your sense of place and time. Crossed fingers.

Ellie March 2, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

Wow. There are a lot of thoughts in there. Tick. Tock. Well written and compelling thoughts. Thought-provoking thoughts. I'm still absorbing.

I wish I could say something as beautifully succinct as Pueblo Girl.

jen March 2, 2010 at 12:57 PM  

the best thing about time?

it's all relative, baby. Einstein was hella smart that way - it goes faster or slower depending on whether you are racing or sitting watching it go by.

but in the end, it only has the power over you that you let it. you are only slave to the clock if you let the clock hands bookend start and finish.

that being said? time *is* ultimately finite - no one has ever been able to make it stand still. so it's probably better to know what you're dealing with - so you can plan your time according to what's important to you.

flutter March 2, 2010 at 8:05 PM  

isn't it amazing, all that beautiful in your head?

Ginny March 2, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

I'm sitting here, quite literally, struggling to hear the tick tock over the din that is my life. Enjoy the tick tock, for now.

Here In Franklin March 6, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

I took my watch off when I started chemo because the only time I needed to be somewhere was every other week at 1 p.m. Haven't put one on since.

A Free Man March 10, 2010 at 2:21 PM  

My watch broke about a year ago and I haven't found the time to get it fixed. But I kind of like not having it, I'm like you in college apparently. Despite being, you know, old.

Tickety tock.

Rassles March 31, 2010 at 10:46 AM  

I have a clock in my apartment that transcends time. There are times when it's moving fast, five seconds to our two, an hour in twenty minutes. Sometimes it's the same time for days. Plain little clock that I've had four five or six years, and it always just creates its own workings.

Drives my roommate crazy. She wants me to replace the batteries. I like it just the way it is, thank you.

AND you're pretty.

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