Saturday, November 26, 2005

My life as a clock

I collect old wind-up clocks. I find the tick-tock comforting. I love the mellow ring of the chimes. It gets noisy in my apartment at the top of the hour.
Antique clocks are temperamental. They have idiosyncracies, such as always running so many minutes fast or slow no matter how you adjust the movement. Or having an occasionally irregular beat, just as the heart sometimes is arrythmic.
One of my favorite clocks is a Japanese wall clock made around 1900.
When I received the clock (I bought it through an online auction site), I couldn't get it to work for more than five minutes at a time. I'd set the pendulum swinging and invariably it would stop. I lost count of the number of times I tried to get it going.
I didn't want to return it because I fell in love with this clock, with its square, polished cherrywood case and its dial with big Roman numerals. I figured I'd have it repaired someday.
So I let it hang on my wall for a couple of months, frozen in time, undisturbed.
One day shortly after my August surgery, on a whim I set the pendulum in motion. Five minutes passed, and the pendulum was still swinging. An hour passed, and it was keeping decent time -- a little fast, but accurate enough.
The next day, the next week, the next month and a half, it was still ticking, needing only to be wound every eight days.
And then, on that day a few weeks ago when I got the blood test results that showed my surgery was unsuccessful, the clock stopped. I tried repeatedly but to no avail to get the pendulum going.
I left the clock alone for about two weeks.
Yesterday I tried again. Today as I write this, it's still ticking.
My elder sister thinks I'm full of shit to link my medical situation to a temperamental, old Japanese wall clock.
I think she's right. This isn't "The Twilight Zone." This is real life.
But this clock reminds me of things I've known all along. Fate is capricious. Life hangs on a gossamer strand. We walk a razor's edge between being and not being. Trying to figure out why is pointless.
Things go well only to fall apart.
And then, inexplicably, things go well again.


mrsbeach said...

I like the clock stories. I think that it DID mean something.
The day you visited my blog, I was feeling sorry for myself, and very depressed. I read your story, and thought to myself,"you are a damn fool beachy,and should be grateful for the small burdens you do carry."
My son is 32 and is profoundly retarded, has cerebral palsy, an uncontrolled seizure disorder, 4 leaky heart valves, but he smiles everyday.
You are an inspiration, and I will remember you in my prayers.
A good belly laugh can get me through a tough day.
Take care

bob said...

I enjoyed the clock stories as well.