Missing Resetting Clocks
Soon we’ll be resetting our clocks for Daylight Saving Time, those of us who still have clocks that require being reset. I happen to have such a clock. It beams from the microwave in the kitchen. I did not set it back last Fall, and it freaked out my roommate several times. I think it was ultimately reset at some point between then and now because it was unplugged. I don’t know that I will get around to resetting it this Fall because I don’t usually rely on it for telling me the time. Usually, if I’m looking at the microwave, I’ve recently checked my phone or computer. I also have an ipod, which serves as my alarm clock (it no longer has the battery life to serve as much else). All of these things reset automatically. That’s a little creepy isn’t it? Aren’t most such conveniences a little creepy? “Don’t worry about paying attention to what time or day it is or should be, shadowy masters of Silicon Valley will take care of that for you.” Confound it, I miss resetting clocks.
I used to have an old radio alarm clock that woke me, or tried to, for school with an extremely loud, ugly buzzing that, 99.9% of the time, convinced me to get out of bed and make it stop. Then I discovered the radio function, but that wasn’t as reliable, because sometimes the music was softer or the transmission shifted (I think that’s how to put it) and the station went fuzzy, which wasn’t as effective as a rock song or an announcer’s voice telling the weather. One Christmas, I received a radio alarm clock that plays CDs, and pretty much all through college I would wake up to overtures or opening numbers of musicals, even the light tapping that opens In the Heights, but mostly the grand, loud launches of Gypsy or The Phantom of the Opera. The clock was a garish, glowing blue, not like the soft green of the older one, so usually I put the CD case of whatever it was playing in front of the clock so the light wouldn’t keep me up, but as long as I set it right, I knew what time it was then it woke me.
Both of these clocks took a while to reset. The CD player was easier, but I think both of them required me to hold down the minute button and run through the hours and minutes until I got where I wanted, and I usually settled for getting up a few minutes early if I released the switch just before it hit the mark to avoid risking setting it too late and having to go around again. Fortunately, I could just flip a switch for AM or PM, I think. On my ipod, not only can I easily scroll through the hours and minutes, but I can set up as many alarms as I want, and have them there when I need them for different purposes. If I have to get up particularly early, and I want to make sure I hit certain milestones of activity in the wee small hours of the morning, I set can set it to go off every fifteen minutes, to remind me tempus fugit. It’s convenient. And like the clock itself, I don’t have to reset the alarms for Daylight Saving Time. Too convenient. Too easy.
I miss the ritual and the effort that required me to be more aware that it was a special day. I don’t do any Christmas shopping online because, for me, that defeats the purpose of Christmas, which is going out and doing a year’s worth of walking around the mall or plaza so I don’t have to do it any other time of the year but still get plenty of enjoyment out of it (Note bene: That’s the purpose of Christmas, not Thanksgiving). Sure, it would be more convenient to not only find things for people without leaving my bed, but also have them shipped to those people without leaving my bed, but I like leaving my bed. I like what it represents. I wasn’t always thrilled to be getting up at 6am to go to school, but just the act of getting out of bed to make that horrible noise or song stop made me feel like I had something important to do, and arguably I did.
The Y2K problem, and the panic that ensued, would not occur today, and not just because we’re not closing in on the year 2000. If there was going to be a problem with representations of dates on computers or other devices or signs, command central, whatever it may be in whatever case, would just send a signal and fix it, and the person looking at the screen or sign might never even know there was a problem to worry about. I don’t want to start another kind of panic, but “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it” is probably the title of the prequel to every dystopian novel every written. I like my microwave clock, but I do look forward to the day when I hang an analog clock that I not only have to set and reset, but even wind every so often. I grew up with such a clock, though while it still hangs in my parents’ breakfast room, it has not told the time but for twice a day in years. I wonder if they pay attention to what their microwave clock says. How long before the microwaves are reset by a signal? How long until automated homes are controlled by a few bro-geeks in an underground fortress in California.