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9,688,896 Minutes
WHO: My Trusty Alarm Clock   |   WHAT: Random   |   WHEN: July 27, 2010   |   WHERE: The Night Stand

September of 1991.  Almost 19 years.  9,688,896 minutes... that's how much life I've lived with this stupid alarm clock.  It's not fancy by today's standards... no CD player, no gently crashing wave alarm sounds that make you have to go to the bathroom, no iPod/iPhone hook-up.  The radio barely works anymore... and only gets some random opera music station [playing in the background as I type this].  The minute button is hard to press and you have to angle your finger just right to get it to work.  It just tells time.  And it's been doing it for appx 9,688,896 minutes. How many other things do I have that I can say are still (quasi) working after that long?  None.  And to boot it only cost about $25 when I bought it.

The alarm clock's been relegated to guest room duties since I got married, and tonight I dusted it off as I cleaned the room in preparation for Kylie's parents coming to visit later this week.  It's missing the battery door on the bottom, so it's got one sharp corner that has started scratching the wood in the night stand it sits on any time it gets moved, and for that reason I decided tonight it's time to send it on to it's un-glorious final resting place.

Here's the thing, though; as ridiculous as it sounds, I got a bit sentimental for a few minutes tonight thinking about this clock (hence the photo) and reminiscing about all the things that have happened - good and bad - in my life over the last almost 19 years.  How many things have come and gone, been celebrated and mourned, friends made and relationships faded, etc over the course of 9,688,896 minutes?    This clock has been with me for over half my life, and that's pretty amazing to me.  And in a weird way - and maybe this is the soft opera music getting to me in the background - it's a little sad to see it go because it's one of the few things I've had for a long time and consequently feels like I'm letting a little piece of my past go.  This silly little inanimate object has taken on tangible meaning for me.  I guess I equate it to a Toy Story movie waiting to happen, except Woody is replaced by this dumb, no-name digital alarm clock.  [NOTE: if you see any movies about sentimental alarm clocks as the main characters come out in the next couple years, you heard it here first... and I expect a big, fat royalty check.]

I think back to all the late nights I crawled into bed and just stared at the red numbers, unable to fall asleep for awhile in thinking about all the things still to be done and things that would never get 'done'.  And then I was reminded of these words from the song "When There's No One's Around" by Garth Brooks (well, his remake of it):  "It's 4 in the mornin', I'm lyin' in bed.  A tape of my failures playin' inside my head.  It's heart aches and hard knocks and things I don't know.  I listen and I wonder where will it go."  I love that song becuase the message is about who we are - the good and the bad - when no one else is around.  And this clock has seen it all.

Wow, it's late, and I better wrap up this post before I start talkin' about how this clock made me who I am today.  (The opera music is definitely gettin' to me now.)  So long, no-iPodin', no CD playin', no wave soundin', no minute buttonin', opera musicin' alarm clock.  Hope you've enjoyed the ride. 

Let's see what the next 9,688,896 minutes brings.  Check back July of 2029 for an update.


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