In a secondhand store I bought an old blue clock that does not keep time. When I went to set it the first time, the big hand clicked its last minute and dropped limp to 6:00. Forever 2:30 now.
For someone who loves routine, I’ve fallen far off the clock. Last week I took a flight across country and, after many delays and de-icings and something O’Hare calls “the penalty box,” finally arrived at my small town destination at 2 a.m. My gate-checked bag showed up last in the freezing cold jetway; and my big black bag that looks exactly like everyone else’s big black bag was the last one to tumble onto the carousel at baggage claim, which made me last man standing at the car rental counter.
Forget horror movies with their old houses and hotels and dark alleys. The airport, normally so filled with people and noise and action, is the most disturbing place at 3 am.
By the time I crawled into bed I’d passed too many circadian markers to bother.
Today I’m back at the airport, a good 4 hours too early for my flight, and I’m thinking about my in-laws’ house and its symphony of clocks. The Grandfather that’s like a church organ with his one big boom, right on the hour. The Cuckoo in the hallway that chirps so softly, so gently, it’s like he doesn’t want to bother anybody. The tarnished brass wall unit in the living room with its four heavy, gong-like brass tubes, clanging with each hour and half hour, getting double the playtime of all the others. The lighthouse above the kitchen sink that blows a foghorn at least a minute or so later than all the others … the one that’s always off.
Off. Like me.
If all goes well (hahaha) I’ll be home tonight around 9 pm. Almost bedtime, right? What could possibly go wrong…