December 30, 2007

Old Objects

"It was like leaving a corpse; you don't leave corpses. And that's a little bit of the feeling that I had. Here was a carcass, of a house, of lives, and that nobody cared to pick it up and give it a proper burial - I thought that it was important that somebody should really didn't matter that it was an eleven year old boy, that cared. Objects have lives, they are witness to things."
-This American Life, "The House on Loon Lake"
My alarm clock is broken. The arm of a digital number was lost after a tumble during the Gulf War years, the wobbly volume knob threatens to break if touched, and the mangled antenna escapes further abuse by hiding in a crowded neighborhood beneath the bed. Things really started to go awry for the poor thing during my high school years, most likely at the juncture where I started the affair with my snooze button. But, it appears that it reached the end of it's life sometime in the early hours of the morning. Today I picked up the tired old box and examined it.

A family heirloom, really, the clock traveled with my father across the United States in the 1960s. Sitting on the dashboard of an old Chevy van, it saw the Pacific Ocean, Las Vegas, Kansas and, Virginia. It was there for my father's first marriage, and the divorce. It probably knows my half-brother and half-sister better than I do, maybe even woke them for school.

It beat the scream of my cell phone in the morning, without a doubt. At first I was going to set it into a box and stick it into a dark household closet; keeping it would surely be a satisfactory testament to my appreciation of it's years of service. After all, in this day and age trash isn't merely buried, but crushed, ripped apart, burned, and in some cases recycled by strange and foreign means.

It now sits on a desk in my room, an explosion of pieces. The digital arm is gone forever...but if I'm lucky it may sing again.

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