Before I became a married person, I was a single person. As I remember, being a single person means that you can find a crush anywhere. And around the age of thirty, I realized that I had to come to grips with the fact that I could not have crushes on men unless I had confirmed that they were eligible to vote. This realization came when I walked into Brookstone, poised and ready to buy a new alarm clock, and confronted an eccentric, thin, 70-ish hair, wearing royal blue slacks, a pin stripped shirt, and a yellow cardigan sweater with every button buttoned. He held a croquette stick, and towered over me at 6’5”. My interest peaked. “Whacha play’n?” I asked. An instant crush developed.
“A mix between croquette and lawn bowling.”
“Well, cut it out and help me look for a clock,” I said.
I followed him intently around the store. I have to admit that his vocabulary seemed a bit strained – forcing out words such as “incalculable value” and “recuperative operation” as he hovered around various clocks making alien like motions with his lanky arms.
He introduced me to The Atomic Clock – a clock which sends signals to the National time center in Fort Collins Colorado every ten minutes, and subsequently ALWAYS has the accurate time. I smiled at the salesmen. He smiled back.
At the cash register, I asked, “So what’s your story? Going to school?” I smiled again.
“Yep,” he replied. “Highland High.” I coughed, and turned my head a little to see if anyone was looking. He told me he wanted to be a journalist.
I said, “Well, you gotta be believed to be heard.” I think he’ll remember that.
At home, I found that the numbers on my new clock blinked in a weird hazy fashion, so much so, that although probably flashing the correct time, the time itself could not be deciphered. After placing brand new batteries inside, which solved nothing, I retreated to the instruction manual. “If clock does not function, place near a window facing Fort Collins.”
What sort of clock is this? If it still doesn’t work, what’s next? Time disorder therapy? Needless to say, any effort to help the clock come to grips with the time was in vain. Worried that it wouldn’t wake me, I called my sister. “Libs could you call me tomorrow and wake me up. My clock has not yet come to grips with what time it is.”
In the morning, I put the clock in the car. Although embarrassed my short lived crush on the underage salesman, I wanted to show him that the clock was sowing its wild oats – with or without Fort Collins.
But after work, I looked at the clock and saw three distinct numbers 7:52. Clear, bold, and like nothing I’d ever seen before. I would not need return the clock and risk another foray with the high school pre-journalist. Apparently, the atomic clock had come to grips with its role, just as I had. One last joy ride for the clock, one last inappropriate crush for me, and we were both on the path to maturity.