This was one of the adorable little gifts in my Christmas stocking from my sister this year. This is also an inside joke between the two of us.
As long as we both still lived with my parents, my sister and I always shared a room. No matter where we lived there was at least one bedroom that had twin beds with a night table between them. And on that bed was a little glass lamp and some sort of clock. When I was in high school it was a clock radio that I had gotten as a gift, so we woke to music. Radio station KFJZ specifically. Since we were both in public school at that time, we had to get up at the same time every day anyway, so it was no big deal that we both blinked the sleep out of our eyes to the pop tunes of late 60's early 70's in Richland Hills Texas.
When we moved with our parents to Connecticut the clock radio vanished. (we often lost things in our moves so it was not a big deal) and my sister got a small wind up bright yellow alarm clock as a replacement. She dutifully wound it every night and set it for the time she had to rise and shine to head out to school. But by this time I was in college.
Yes my first two years I attended a community college and then transferred to a university. So I saved all sorts of money by continuing to live at home. Yay me. It worked out very well with the exception of that damned clock.
The clock was small but mighty. When it rang it was so loud that it could make your ears ring. And it was so powerful that it literally danced all over the top of the night table, tappity taptap tapping along with the most irritating ring ever to be heard on the planet.
Mostly I just grit my teeth and said nothing because Joy's schedule was the same every Monday through Friday that school was in session. As a college student, my schedule was different every day but that's ok. If I got up earlier than necessary, I suppose it was extra study time for me. It was the sort of compromise people make when sharing a room.
Still, it was The Most Unpleasant way to wake up every day! RINGITYRINGRING and tappitytaptap. And the worst part was that it didn't actually wake Joy up. It woke me up and then I woke her up.
Occasionally there would be a school holiday where she didn't have to get up to an alarm clock at all! Nope, she could have slept til noon if she wanted to. Still that ratzenfratzen clock went off because the night before, out of habit and not meanness you understand, she faithfully wound and set the clock. So at 6 am on a holiday, the alarm would wake all the demons in hell and then tapdance on their graves, jarring me out of whatever amount of sleep I had managed to grab. And I would look over and see her still peacefully sound asleep. On a Holiday. Grrrrrr.
I started trying to sabotage the clock. I would hide it in a drawer. And in the morning we could still distantly hear a muffled ringityringring and a rattlelyrattle as it bumped around in a drawer. She would always find it and the next morning, there it would be back on the night table again. She never accused me of anything as I tried to find ever more creative places to hide the clock, always coming just short of actually throwing it away. Nope, she just quietly replaced it on the night table. Somehow I just couldn't bring myself to throw away something that wasn't mine.
And 'round and 'round it would go. I would hide the clock, she would find the clock. It would wake me and not her, I would wake her. I began to hate that clock.
And the fateful day of reckoning finally arrived. It was during semester finals. As anyone who has been to college knows, finals is a rough go. And remember I was also working while I went to school, saving saving saving money all the while. Studying late into the night. Researching and writing papers as the dawn rose. There isn't a lot of actual sleeping that goes on during finals.
It was on the day of my last final. All of my papers were written and submitted. All but one of my tests taken and I was floating with that weirdly exhilarating and unwordly detached from the world feeling as I collapsed into bed just before the sun came up, certain that I was ready to ace my last test that afternoon. I was so eager for those few hours of sleep. And even better, I knew that Joy didn't have to wake up early that day. Bliss.
My eyes had barely closed and I was already sinking into oblivion when I heard, RINGITYRINGRING and tappitytaptap.
I lost my mind entirely. Without saying a single word, without even opening my eyes, I reached over and grabbed the offending clock and whipped it across the room into the wall with such force that it smashed into a zillion or so pieces and then fell to the ground where it continued to whirr and gurgle and ring and ring and ring until it died.
That actually did wake Joy. She sat up, saw the clock in pieces on the floor gasping it's last, realized what must have happened and began to laugh. Obviously her sense of humour is a strange as mine is.
I hadn't thought of that in decades until the little yellow clock showed up in my Christmas stocking. I took one look at it and cracked up giggling.
It's now in our guest room. It's not a wind-up clock but a battery and guests can use it or not as they wish. It still tells the time with fair accuracy and it adds a bit of that retro vibe I like to the room.
About an hour after I set the clock up in the guest room I learned that the alarm is plenty noisy. I don't know if it's yellow clocks in particular or not but mercy it was loud! I certainly didn't flip the button on purpose. But I guess it was already set so as soon as I put in the battery it was ready to roll. Because roughly an hour after I put it on that night table, it sounded like a old fashioned fire alarm going off. I honestly thought it was one of the smoke detectors. But since there was no smoke or fire in the house, finally I tracked it to the little yellow alarm clock. It took me a few panicky moments to figure out how to turn it off. Aftewards, I think I laughed for about fifteen minutes straight. I couldn't even talk. Too funny.
I just realized something while writing this memory here. All those years ago I had to wake Joy because she slept through her own alarm clock. And nowadays, because of my hearing (or lack thereof) Tim has to wake me because I don't hear the alarm. Balance in the Universe once again. It's a real thing.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.