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Cheryl Hughes: Time's Up

When my sister-in-law, Charlotte, was babysitting her grandson, she misplaced her cell phone.  She panicked.  She didn’t panic because her son doesn’t have a land line, and she was afraid she might have an emergency.  She panicked because her son doesn’t have a clock.  Her grandson, a preemie, is on a strict feeding schedule, evidenced by the two typed pages of instructions on her son’s refrigerator.

               I’ve noticed this about many young couples today, the not having clocks on the wall thing, that is.  They use their cell phones as time pieces.  That’s all fine and good for people who consider cell phones as extra appendages, never to be severed from their bodies.  I am not one such person, however.  I keep my phone near, but not attached, so locating my cell phone to check the time is a huge waste of time in my book.

               I don’t understand what young people’s aversion to clocks is all about, unless they see them as no longer necessary, like the ancient sundial.  Maybe, they think clocks are antiquated pieces of décor that no longer fit their modern lifestyle.  Somebody needs to create a wall clock that looks like a cell phone.  I would buy it for my daughter’s wall, so I could know what time it is without digging through my purse for my cell phone.

               I have battery-operated wall clocks in practically every room in my house.  I want to know what time it is at a glance.  Is it time for the news?  Time to start dinner?  Time for Garey to arrive home from work?  I want to plan how much time I have to get dressed before I go to church or pick up my groceries.  Clocks are a vital part of my day.

               I always set the alarm clock in our bedroom—and yes, I know there is an alarm clock on my cell phone—for Garey to get up for work each day.  When I’m visiting his mom, Aggie, in Alabama, Garey doesn’t set an alarm.  He says he doesn’t need an alarm clock when I’m gone, because he has an alarm cat.  If I’m not there, our nineteen-year-old, blind-in-one-eye cat, Figaro, comes to the bedroom door and howls—not cries or meows--for Garey to get up.  He’s not as blaring as the alarm clock, but he’s just as irritating and persistent.  I guess, in my absence, Figgie has decided somebody better get the breadwinner out of bed and off to work in order for him to continue living in the lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed, Fancy Feast treats and all.

               Like Figaro, many animals have internal clocks.  My daughter, Nikki, sets an alarm for work each morning.  Her husband, Thomas, thinks it’s unnecessary, because they have their dog, Dexter.  Every morning at five a.m., rain or shine, weekend or weekday, Dexter crawls out from under the cover, shakes himself, yawns, stretches then stares at the couple until they get up.  I’ve witnessed this ritual first-hand when I dog sit for them.  His eyes are like lasers.  He is relentless.

               Nikki and Thomas have also noticed their rabbits have habits you can set your clock by, as well.  Each evening at 7:30, the rabbits get treat pellets.  The couple can be lost in a television show, and the rabbits will wander into the area with a “Haven’t you forgotten something” look in their eyes, to which Nikki will say to Thomas, “There is no way it is pellet time!”  Thomas will check his cell phone and respond, “Yep, 7:30 on the dot.”

               The old folks depended on the rooster’s internal clock to wake them each morning.  If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can order an alarm clock on Amazon that crows like a rooster or a bargain version on eBay. 

               Some people like grandfather clocks that chime every hour on the hour or cuckoo clocks that have a little bird announcing the time.  I prefer clocks that are seen, not heard.  My stepmom had a birdsong clock that I would have fed to the wolves if I had had to live in her house very long.

               I don’t know why I’m such a time-checker.  Garey says it’s because we’re getting older, and we want to see how much time we have left, so we can make the most of it.  For me, it’s more that I get up each morning with a list in my head of what I think needs to be accomplished.  I pace myself with the clock, speeding up if I feel I’m lagging behind.

               My mother-in-law, Aggie, goes to bed when she wants to and gets up when she wants to.  When she’s hungry, she eats.  If she wants to read, she reads.  If she wants to watch TV, she watches TV.  She does all of these things by her internal clock, not the one on the wall in her kitchen. 

               Aggie is my hero.


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