19 December 2008

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

So I'm a huge fan of analog clocks. The reason for this is that they are cyclical in nature, instead of the relentless forward motion of their digital siblings. This idea that you will always and forever return to twelve, but it will never quite be the same twelve, not really, not outside the clock, is one of the most comforting thoughts I have. Things will always change, but they will always also be the same. You can choose at any given moment to recognize which is the more relevant circumstance.

There used to be an exemplary antique shop below me, and for almost two years I covetted one of a row of old mantel clocks they had in their window. When the proprietor was mercilessly ousted by our fascist new landlord and had to sell off all his wares fast, I finally made my approach. 

The decision was between two clocks, both of which, I found out, were broken. I was discouraged, and almost walked. He picked one of them up and wound it to see what would happen, and ends up he wound the alarm by accident, and i kid you not, the most astounding sound of bells came out of that thing that I have ever heard in my life. It sounded like tiny church bells, but softer, almost. I was completely seduced. I decided that even if the clock didn't work, with an alarm like that, it couldn't possibly be anything but a welcome addition to my chattels.

For the past year now it has sat by my drafting table, and whenever I look at it, (fortuitously stopped at 8 minutes to twelve), I think about my "ever returning to twelve" theory, and since the hands aren't moving, how immensely important that present 8 minutes to twelve moment must be. My hands move for it, I guess. And though I think I broke the alarm (I'm awesome) after borrowing a book on clockmaking from the library to try to fix the bloody thing, I will one day get it repaired properly, and hear these exemplary bells that live inside this beautiful beautiful clock. 

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