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Alarm Clocks

We've gotten out of the habit of using alarm clocks. As a result, when I wake up I usually have no idea what the time is.

(No, this is not about how alarm clocks are obsolete in the 21st century and we use iPhones instead. iPhones as well as landline phones are banned from our bedroom. If you want to reach us in the middle of the night, you better bring the patience for us to hear the ringing from downstairs.)

It's not that we don't have an alarm clock in our bedroom. At last count we have four.

We have two matching digital alarms from that German coffee and gadget (and sports clothing and kitchen utensils and and and) shop Tchibo. On mine the buttons are very difficult so it goes unused. My wife's is face down on the headboard. The clock is so bright that even at the lowest setting it casts the entire room in an eerie yellow glow. It's like one of those pods from Matrix.

Number 3 is an iPod/iPhone speaker clock my wife gave me a couple of years ago. It somehow ended up on her side of the bed. It has way too many buttons and goes unused. Also, see above about iPhones being banned.

Number 4 is an analog radio-controlled clock from precision clock-maker Tchibo. It glows in the dark and shows the precise time. However, being analog, the alarm is not at all precise and can be set only at circa 10 minute intervals.

However, none of our collection of alarm clocks is particularly useful because from our bed we cannot see them. For one thing, our current bedroom furniture collection has no side tables but instead a headboard with wings, the surfaces of which are not visible from the pillows below. In addition, even if our eyes were equipped with periscope vision, we're both at the age that we cannot see much of anything without corrective lenses. For the purpose of telling time at night, any alarm clock for us is useless.

So if we awake in the middle of the night and want to know the time, we need to reach for respective clock (for my wife, her face-down eerie yellow-glowing Matrix digital, for me my little round radio-controlled analog) and hold it close enough to our face for us to read it. By this time, we're awake enough that we couldn't go back to sleep anyway.

I haven't yet even mentioned the most annoying alarm clock in the house… a TALKING clock from that electronic super-store Tchibo. I bought it on a whim, but found the voice so EVIL that I immediately intended to throw it out… but instead it ended up in our son's room. He sleeps in a high bed with no shelf for a clock, so he puts it in his bed against the sideboard. When he rolls over in the night, he rolls against the buttons and suddenly the clock starts speaking: "THE TIME IS… TWO… FORTY-SEVEN!!!" Our son sleeps through it, but the rest of us have to put up with random squawks of clock logic until one of us goes downstairs and extracts the talking clock from his bed.

That we then know exactly what the time is in the night is no solace.

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