Is that day when we re-set the clocks coming up soon? Good. The clock in my car will finally be right again.
We have eleven different clocks in our house. Depending on which one you trust, it’s eleven after the hour, five ‘til, thirteen after, eight after, two ‘til, three-fifteen or twelve o’clock. Our humble home is an anal-retentive person’s nightmare, a living hell for the obsessive-compulsive.
There are only two of us who need to know the time, unless one of the dogs have recently gotten on schedule. We each own smart phones. So smart are they that they’re never without the correct time. And so, we always know exactly what time it is, unless, of course, the phone has ended up in the toilet again.
Laughing only makes the phone Gods angry.
Go to your pantry now and make sure you have uncooked rice at hand.
You’ve angered the phone Gods.
Thankfully, neither of us have jobs that depend us being anywhere at a specific time. I leave early enough for this job that, even when I’m running behind, I’m early. My wife paints for a living. Her day of work ends when it’s dry.
Many times, visitors mention this problem, mostly in polite ways. “Which of these clocks is correct?” is the question we receive most often. It’s either that, or we get the less subtle, “Do you have the time?” as someone stares at the clock on the mantel, which has read three-fifteen since, well, three-fifteen.
Actually, having every clock in the house read a different time keeps me sharp. I know that the mantel clock is right only twice a day. The others all have faults. However, having lived with them long enough, you get to the point where you can read them. The clock next to the bed is five minutes fast. That’s a hangover from my morning show days, when I would set the clock ahead to fool myself into getting out of bed. The digital readout on the stove is four minutes slow. I don’t know how to reset it. I used to, but I lost the manual. The clock in my car’s dashboard is one hour behind six months out of the year. I could take it to the dealership, but adding an hour is so much easier than subtracting a hundred bucks from my wallet.
While we are quite comfortable living in a non-existent time zone, our house of wrong clocks bothers others in our lives. They try to help. Once, a friend bought us a clock whose face displayed pictures of birds, rather than numbers. At the top of each hour, the instructions exclaimed, the clock would emit the sound of a bird chirping. This gift was not a gift at all, but a punishment for years of lazy clock-upkeep. At two o’clock, the timepiece made a noise that sounded like a nails on a chalkboard. At three, a squeaky door hinge. At four o’clock, a baby wailed in the distance. At twenty ‘til five, after the gift giver had gone away, I massaged my cheeks. They were cramping. I had been smiling my broadest smile, trying as I might to show the joy the clock brought me with its fake, recorded bird sounds. After a quick jaw massage, the clock was packed into its box and sent away to the land of the misfit gifts – the hall closet.
I forgot all about that clock, but months later, at three-fifteen (according to the clock on the mantel) I began to hear the sound of a bird, trapped somewhere under the living room floor.
It went on for two days.
After searching high and low for the trapped bird, or kitten, or runaway smoke detector, I remembered that clock. Somehow, the battery that had been disconnected became re-connected. It made contact. The birds had been awakened, each hour, on the hour – or, eleven after the hour, according to the clock in the kitchen.
This entire episode had been forgotten (it happened years ago) until this morning. Looking in the newspaper, I spied an advertisement for a new clock. The “John Deere Tractor Clock”, reads the ad, is my “chance to hear classic antique tractors in all their amazing glory”.
Twelve different John Deere tractor sounds are featured, one for each hour of the day. They’re actual recordings made at the John Deere Historical Museum in Moline, Illinois.
Make your travel plans now.
Is it twelve o’clock? Sure it is! You can tell, because the clock on the wall just emitted the sputter and pop of a 1916 Waterloo Boy. Is it nine at night? You’ll know, because you’ll hear an actual recording of an actual John Deere model 6420.
Or, you can always look at our stove and see that it says 8:56.
My dream is that someone, someday will combine the two clock ideas, so that I can be awaked at four in the morning to the sound of a John Deere 1952 Model A running over a Spotted Whippoorwill.
I’ll immediately know that it’s three-fifteen.
According to the clock on the mantel.