The house where I am renting a room — in “up-and-coming” Brookland, home to a variety of artists and general vagrants — has a beautiful old grandfather clock in the foyer. The men who own the house only recently bought the clock and were very proud to tell me all about it when I first came to view my future room back in November.
To think, how young and unburdened I was then, how silly and initiated I was to the reality of grandfather clocks, to wholeheartedly agree with the proud owners that this clock, this magnificent clock, was a beautiful and necessary antique around which life in the house should revolve.
That all changed when I moved in. I have not had one good night’s sleep in over two months. Because this clock, not content to chime on the hour, has to jangle off every 15 minutes. At 15: a short, jaunty jangle. At 30: a slightly longer jangle. At 45: a very off-key, unmelodious jangle. On the hour: a terribly long cacophony, followed by the stroke of bells. It’s all noise, all day.
I wonder, though, who wants a reminder that another fifteen minutes of life have passed and we’re still sitting in our beds eating Easter candy (this may be a very me-specific example)? Who wants to lie awake at night, trying to sleep, kept up by a record of the dwindling hours they have left before morning? Who needs a biological clock made tangible, telling us at set intervals that we have fifteen fewer minutes left to live?