Monday, December 30, 2013

Alarm Clocks - Old and New

I don't remember how old I was when my mom and dad first put an alarm clock in my room. I do remember it was not your run of the mill alarm clock. It was not digital, for starters. It was on my dresser, which was across the room from me, and when it went off in the morning, it buzzed similar to the buzzer at school. Loud. Long. Obnoxious. There was no pulsing like today's digital alarm clocks. Worse, there was no snooze button. So I had to get out of my bed to shut it off, and I couldn't go back to bed. When you think about it, it was quite genius, I suppose. But I had no appreciation for genius back then. 

Some time after that, I graduated to a digital clock, complete with snooze button. I guess you could say the snooze button was my favourite feature. (Isn't it everybody's?) I hated the sound of that clock beeping in the morning so badly. It made me angry. I hated my alarm. Granted, that may have had something to do with me staying up all hours writing stories, until I was completely exhausted. Either way, I wanted to punch it every morning. I think sometimes I did.

Once, I heard about an alarm clock that was shaped like a football. Supposedly, when it went off in the morning, you could spike it on the floor to silence it. That sounded very satisfying to me. On the other hand, I don't know how the snooze would work if the ball was halfway across the room. Or out the window. I don't even know whether there was such a clock, but I liked the idea.

One Christmas or birthday, (I can't remember which), I got a new alarm clock from my mom. I guess my old one was broken. I think I cried. The idea of getting something as a present that I hated so much was nearly unbearable, though it was a nice looking little clock. It was white. 

One time, I remember hearing my alarm in my sleep, only I was dreaming it was a dog that wouldn't stop barking. Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Over and over again. Until I finally understood that it was my alarm clock. 

TV commercials or movies that showed an alarm going, grated on me so badly. They still do. Doesn't everybody hate that sound? It represents being ripped out of sleep before you are ready. Why else would you need an alarm? If you were ready to wake up, your body would just do it. 

I have since found something even more grating than that sound, though it has the same function as an alarm clock. The main difference is that you can't choose what time it goes in the morning, and you can't shut it off. Ever. Kids. Screaming, fighting, playing hockey, laughing loudly, banging doors, letting the dog out at 6 a.m. so he can bark incessantly outside, and let's not forget barging into our room every three minutes to ask for food, tattle on each other, or ask for something they know they are not allowed to have. These are the sounds we wake up to every morning now. I use my alarm clock more as a just-in-case-hell-freezes-over-and-my-kids-don't-wake-me-up-first kind of a deal. The only thing close to a snooze button consists of getting out of bed, leaving the bedroom, storming down the hall and yelling at them to be quiet, before storming back to bed in the vain hopes that sleep will come again. It doesn't. It's all a form of parental denial. I think it's a survival instinct. 

"Just get up before your kids do in the morning." I've heard that one before. People who suggest that don't know just how early my kids are willing to get up in the morning. Once, not that long ago, I actually caught one of them up at 3:30 a.m., playing video games in the basement. Once, one of them was taking slap shots with a hockey stick in the kitchen at 1 a.m. 

Nope. There is no solution but to wait. Until they are all teenagers and none of them want to get up in the morning. Then the tables will be turned. I hope it will be as fun as I imagine it will be. 

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