Sunday, January 16, 2011

Da Bomb

The funky, retro clock on the living room wall measures each second audibly. There is no elegance in the movement of the second hand. With a complete absence of grace, it jerks along, one second at a time. The clock is reminiscent of one my parents owned in the 1960s and 70s that makes occasional appearances in the family photo album featuring images of assorted relatives lined up smiling for pictures. That is exactly why I bought it. Lately, it seems to be the only reliable, steady thing in my life. My mind lacks focus and clarity. My heart behaves like a see saw. My alleged career circles the toilet. My temper flares more frequently. My doubts and regrets result in looking back and wondering, “What if?”

The clock, meanwhile, ticks off the time whether I am there or not. It predictably gains about five minutes a month, every month, as if it is trying to hurry me along to something. Unlike some people, it doesn’t present itself as one thing in my presence and become something different when I step away. It doesn’t deliver lies of omission, outright lies, half-truths or shaded truths and then follow up with ex post facto, half-assed rearrangements of the truth under the claim of being considerate of my feelings, which half the time, even I cannot decipher. It doesn’t try to hijack my mind, my body, my wallet, my time or my possessions (including major appliances) for its own convenience or gain, and then when I remark on the ruse, christen me as cynical.

It indicates the time. It adorns the wall. It is just a clock—purchased as a clock, hung as a clock, it remains a clock. For now, anyway. The way the bullshit-tainted winds of turmoil and change blow through my life, it is entirely possible I may awaken one day to discover the clock has become a potholder or a chinchilla collar or a banana nailed to the wall. The way things happen around me I will probably not even be surprised. It would be just another confusing incident in a life that usually feels like a chapter plucked from Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass – people talking in riddles, nonsensical gibberish and outright falsehoods, and things never quite what they seem.

In the frequent stillness of the house when the heating system is not actively blowing and the refrigerator is not humming and gasping, the ticking of the clock is sometimes the only noise. In those moments, it sounds like an overdone movie effect for the timer on a bomb about to blow – a perfect reflection of how I feel. Like my life is a ridiculous, over-budget Hollywood movie with a stupid and incomprehensible plotline. Like I am the bomb about to go off. The audience can see it, but the main character remains ignorant of how much time is left on the timer buried in the back of the brain, or what moment, word or action triggers the detonator. It is a life lived frequently on edge. On the wavering line between kindness and cruelty. On the border between rational and illogical. On the infinitesimal sliver of heart between love and hate.

Staying busy sometimes crowds out the real life issues. The overwhelming emptiness of it. The emotional land mines. The weight of loneliness and the scars of a thousand wounds, real and imagined. By staying busy, the clock rules my life, unwittingly at first. Unkindly at present. It mocks from its lofty position on the wall.

Tick. Tick. Tick. You’re late. Late. Late.

The rest of the world moves forward into the arms of love and friends and family and happiness. The rest of the world makes progress in careers and forms happy homes and makes babies and more money. And you, my dear, are isolated and paralyzed in time. Tick. Tick. Tick.


  1. Very honest, except the last paragraph. "the rest of the world"? From what I observe, the rest of the world has serious problems. Think of other people's problems, and then ask yourself -"would I trade my problems for their problems?" Probably not. And btw, from your derby pix, it doesn't look like you're paralyzed! (LOL) Keep writing, maybe you're staring at your new career!

  2. True, true. I should probably edit to "The rest of the people in MY world."