Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Clocks (But Were Afraid to Ask)
Why do we need clocks? To tell time? Well…no. If we pay attention to the rhythms of our days and our nights, we will eventually develop an internal clock. This inner time-keeper, will tell us, with accuracy of within five minutes or so, what time it is. Try it.
Why do clocks make so much noise? Do we really need to have the ticking, the tocking, the incessant clicking and clacking, the whirring and chirring, the ringing, the alarming? No, we don’t. Clocks should know their place and be quiet.
Do we need a laser read-out on the ceiling of the bedroom, so we know it is 3 am and we’re not asleep? No we don’t. Isn’t the fact we’re awake and it’s dark telling us enough? It’s only the obsessive part of us that needs to know the time, so we can be angry we’re not sleeping, and know how much longer we should have been asleep.
What about clocks that wake us singing, “You Are My Sunshine”? Really? Is this necessary? Do I actually need to explain this one? That’s just wrong.
What about clocks which are monuments to history, gigantic clocks in the center of town for example? There they are, bing-bonging out the hours, for everyone to hear. This may have been helpful in an age when only the wealthy could afford clocks or watches. But who needs them now? Who needs to know it is…bong-bong-bong-bong; yes, it’s 4 o’clock. All this clock does is rub time in your face. You still have to work until 5:30, so knowing it is only four…just sucks.
And who invented grandfather clocks? Someone who had a fetish about “mine is bigger than yours”, that’s who. Yes. I think so.
Do we need mantle clocks; clocks which require being wound with a tiny key, once a week? They may have been helpful, but only if we remembered where we put the damned key.
Now we have clocks everywhere—in cars, on microwaves, on the oven, on the cell phone or computer, in every television and radio—all flashing the time with little green dots. It is clock overkill, all this consciousness of time, time slipping away, time hurrying past.
What happened to the internal clock I started talking about?
How about giving up watches and clocks? Why not pay attention instead to the internal rhythms of life, to the natural rhythms of each day and each night?
Try it. I bet you’ll be surprised at how accurate you become at simply listening to your own internal time-keeper. You'll soon be adept at just knowing the time. Give it a couple weeks.
Words and photo are © Carol Steel. Text in red will take you to another website with additional information, if you click on it.