I am not sure why, but for some reason, I really enjoy clocks. I am in fact obsessed with knowing the time of day. I have some sort of condition that compels me to know what time it is, always. I carry a pocket watch that is attached to my pants’ belt loop and I check it for the time a minimum of once an hour. I will sometimes check my watch and compare its keeping of the time with other timepieces to ensure that my watch is accurate. I often wake in the night and immediately check the alarm clock’s glowing red display, to know the time before drifting back to sleep again. It is a sickness I’m sure, but it does cause me to know certain things. For instance, I know that it takes me between thirteen to fifteen minutes to drive from my house to my favorite movie theater in light traffic. It takes me twenty-three minutes, give or take a minute, to get to church on Sundays and from twenty-eight to thirty-one minutes to get to the University. Strange, I know, but I can’t help it.
At home I have numerous ways of determining to time. In my kitchen there are two clocks. In my bedroom another two. I have three timepieces that I can check from the couch in my living room. The first is, of course, the digital VCR, which sits in the entertainment center across from my couch. This is very accurate and is easily visible in low light. Second, is a beautiful Coo-coo clock that I purchased while I was in Bavaria. This is by far the most attractive timepiece in my home. It is completely hand crafted-wood with a cute Bavarian cottage and dancing bears, which spin around to the music at the top of each hour. It is truly a work of art. The melody is lovely and the mechanics of it are marvelous. It turns out that the clock needs no winding at all. Three weights that hang from the clock keep it running beautifully. However, it does have a tendency to run slow, so I trust it less than the rest of my clocks, even though it is sightly.
The third clock is seemingly the least desirable. Don’t get me wrong, it is pleasant looking. It is a fifty-year-old Seth Thomas wall clock with three different chimes. It is a handsome clock and even has a system where it runs silently at night so as not to disturb me. From 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM the clock make no sound except for the soft tic-toc, tic-toc, of the arm. The problem is that it doesn’t like to run for more than a few days, at most. I have taken the thing to a repairman several times but without results. After its return it runs happily for a short while and then ceases. It became very frustrating to me. I simply detest clocks that don’t keep accurate time, and this one quit altogether. It stopped at ten minutes to two and has displayed that time for a month now. It was totally useless, until I recently found a purpose for it.
Something interesting happened to me the other day that made me alter my view of time keeping. I was sitting on the couch reading an interesting book and drinking a Pepsi, when my Coo-coo clock sprang into action. It gave five coo-coos and then played its song while the bears danced. I sighed and looked at it to make sure, but it definitely read five o’clock. I knew that it was a couple of minutes off but it was close enough. It meant that I needed to get washed up and get ready to go, because I was supposed to meet some friends at five-thirty. I didn’t want to go. Not only because I was comfortable but also because I was not in a friendly mood. I grumbled a bit about it to myself and then noticed my broken clock. It read, as always, ten minutes to two o’clock. That’s when I got to thinking. I wondered which clock I should trust. It seemed that the obvious choice was the clock that was running, and yet perhaps the choice was not so obvious. ‘Maybe the broken clock was correct this time’, I mused ‘it might be the superior timepiece right now.’ After several minutes of mental debate, and without consulting the VCR clock on the matter, I gave the edge to the broken clock and continued reading. I had a wonderfully relaxing evening of reading and lounging, and was in a delightful mood the entire time.
One of my friends called me the next day to inquire as to my absence. I explained to him that my clock was broken and so I missed our meeting. Being a reasonable fellow, he understood that a person could not be held responsible for tardiness or absence if he did not posses a reliable clock, and so excused my non-appearance. Since then I have found it very useful to keep the still clock on the wall. It seems to be an advantage occasionally to have a clock that refuses to give an accurate account of the time. Though I still check my watch hourly and wake in the night to spy my alarm clock, I enjoy to sometimes follow the guidance of my still clock. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when the clock stops ticking. I think everyone should stop the clock every now and then just to see what happens when there is no ticking or tocking.