November 1, 2020, 6:00 a.m. and I’m in our small kitchen frozen in time in a room stuck in the mid-1980’s with its oak cabinets and brass hinges, limited counter space, drawers that stick, tile backsplash that might be kindly termed retro if it weren’t for the greyed grout that shouts “old”. Three clocks glow different digital shades of lime green, turquoise, and amber. The wall clock ticks – another 1980’s relic. It’s my favourite. I loved the ‘80’s.
Time to fall back and I resist. I think about not changing the clocks because what does it matter? We’re not going anywhere. No one is keeping tabs on our deliverables – we gave that up with work, thank god. Our deliverables now are time for coffee, time for breakfast, time to walk the dog. Frankly, the dog is as good a clock as we need. His whimpers and clicking toenails as he paces the wood floor urge us out of bed in the morning or demand feeding. His soulful stares at the front door tell us its walk time. What else do we need to know?
Lately I’ve become more like the dog anyway, tending to my bodily functions although both my spine and upbringing prevent me from gnawing on my feet or, you know, licking myself clean. Like our mutt, I stretch frequently – down-dogs, up-dogs, the cobra, the corpse – nap a bit, stare out the living room window. It’s a good life in which the clock is irrelevant, possibly even an irritant.
I watch the analog clock’s stiff, one-legged second hand click around in circles, a lurching Frankenstein, around and around and around going nowhere and noisy, to boot, in its lack of progress. Fake time. But then isn’t all time fake? Those coloured digital numbers are fake too. They might as well be purple or pink. Damn it, colour them any shade you like – it’s your time! But at least its silent though don’t be fooled: it’s a silent killer, like CO2.
Ticked off time is my preference, like a list – there, that’s done. I like the sound of time like church bells, the birthday song, the town clock gonging Westminster chimes, or best of all, cuckoo time because that’s where I am, maybe where we all are.
I’m still in the kitchen, one hand on the microwave tinkering with numbers, coordinating time and deciding whether it should read the same as the analog but that’s impossible because the analog is the kind with only four numbers – 12, 3, 6, and 9 – and impossible to tell the exact time. Anyway, as soon as I set the microwave’s clock to 6:09, the stove clock changes to 6:10 and the clock radio to 6:13. I could keep working on concordance but that seems like wasting time, eh?
So, that’s where I am – contemplating timelessness and howling with the dog at the setting moon beaming through the window.