M. Giant's
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Friday, November 22, 2002  

"A man with one clock always knows what time it is. A man with two clocks is never quite sure."

Check that out. I started today's entry with a quote. Do you think it makes me look smarter?

Okay, moving on.

One thing I collect is clocks. I'm not saying that because it's a month before Christmas, by the way. Trust me. I'm running out of places to hang the things as it is.

Who asked me, you wonder? Fair enough. Moving on. Again.

Another complication is that since Trash and I both hate getting out of bed in the morning, our getting-ready-for-work routine is synchronized to the nanosecond. Or it would be, if we didn't have so many clocks in the house disagreeing with each other.

For instance, she has her alarm clock set an hour ahead so that when she wakes up she thinks it's later than it is. I've got my alarm clock set a random number of minutes (anywhere between twenty and fifty) fast so I'm never sure how much earlier it is than my clock is telling me. And my other alarm clock is set a different random number of minutes ahead. The theory is that the uncertainty will motivate us to get up before the last possible second (or, as is often the case, fifteen minutes after the last posible second.) Yes, that's three alarm clocks for two people who get up at the same time. Did I mention that we hate getting out of bed in the morning?

So then I strap on my watch, which is set to work time, which is a few minutes slower than the rest of the Central Time Zone. Trash doesn't wear a watch at all, so she has to go by whatever clock in the house is closest to her. And since I generally don't have time to look at my wrist while throwing myself together, so do I. We go downstairs, past the "modern art" clock in the stairwell that's clever looking but impossible to read because the face is all askew, and even if it weren't the time would probably still be off. Trash might take a minute to check her e-mail, and then take another couple of minutes because the clock on Windows tells her she's got ten minutes more than she thought she did. Then her glance will wander up to the small mantel clock on the shelf above the monitor, and in the time it takes her gaze to rotate those forty-five degrees, thirteen minutes have disappeared. Meanwhile, I'm in the shower with the waterproof clock radio telling me a different time than the DJ is saying, and that's after I've looked at the clock in the kitchen while I was feeding the cats which told me it's yet another time. And more likely than not, the grandfather clock in the living room, the pendulum of which I've spent five years adjusting one atom at a time to try to get the thing to keep better time, has probably wound down. Trash is basically left to poll the various timepieces in the house and calculate an average. Not the most efficient way to go. She could go down to the basement to check the clock on our VCR, because that has to be accurate in order to tape our shows when we're gone, but since we switched to a Fisher-Price model in September, we don't have a VCR with a clock on the front. Of course, she could check the wall clock while she's down there, but its battery is going flat and it's anywhere between one minute and six hours early or late on any given day. So we're stuck just hurrying as quickly as we can, and then we get in the car and look at the car clock and say, "How the hell did it get to be that time?"

Finally Trash had enough. She asked me to synchronize the clocks in the house. She didn't care if they were off or not; she just wanted them to agree.

I could do better than that. I went above and beyond, you might say. I synchronized all of our clocks to the time given by the atomic clock at the U. S. Naval Observatory. I started with the computer clock (which was probably a waste of time, given the clock in Windows is so notoriously inaccurate that people make money by selling add-ons to fix it), then the mantel clock on the shelf above the monitor. Then I had to carry the mantel clock around the house because not only does my watch not have a second hand, it has only one number on its face. It took me about twenty minutes to get every timepiece in the house (except the alarm clocks, of course) within a second or two of agreement with the atomic clock. I replaced batteries where needed. I even went outside and reset the clock in the car.

It was great. You could look at a clock in one room, and then go look at a clock in the next room, and the only difference between them would be the time you spent in transit. Our mornings stopped being a time of confusion, frustration, and haste. Just having the haste was a lot easier to deal with.

This was, of course, a week and a half before the end of Daylight Savings time.

Four weeks later, I'm pretty sure I got most of the clocks back to the correct time. Not all of them, but most of them. I left the VCR clock for last, of course, since you can't see it unless you're setting it, so I mistakenly taped some shows that were on an hour before the ones we wanted to see. Whoops. But like I say, I think all the clocks are right.

Give or take ten or fifteen minutes here and there.

I really should do the synchronizing thing again. Maybe I'll get around to it by the end of April.

posted by M. Giant 3:21 PM 1 comments


And more likely than not, the grandfather clock in the living room, the pendulum of which I've spent five years adjusting one atom at a time to try to get the thing to keep better time, has probably wound down.

That is sad. That's exactly how I felt when my Howard Miller grandfather Clock broke down too.

By Anonymous Sandra, at September 16, 2007 at 10:36 AM  

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