There is something about four in the morning for my cat, especially when he is at the cottage. His internal clock says, no matter how comfortable his sleep on my bed and no matter how dark it is outside, it’s time to go out and roust out the creatures of the forest. Earlier in the summer it is in fact almost light at the cat witching hour but not now. I know you might say that I am an idiot not to chuck him out before I go to bed. I tried that the other day, however with the windows open a cat outside sounds very much like a cat inside, and since I had forgotten how smart I had been at bed time, I got up and went down to let him out, only to let him in.
But the good news is that I always know what time it is when Dennis wakes me up. That’s because chances are the power has flicked off for a nanosecond at some point in the night and some number bearing no relation to the actual time is flashing on the clock. This is somewhat understandable if there had been a thunderstorm or wind storm that was violent enough to bring down wires or take out transformers.
However, if that had happened I think it would have woken me up.
One night last weekend when Dennis and I played our little game, the power was alive and well at 4:15am. When I got up once again at a more civilized time to greet a flawless weather day, I didn’t actually know what time it was because the power had gone AWOL. And it continued on its (literal) sabbatical for the balance of the day while repair crews searched for the errant weak link in the grid that had no apparent cause.
This week, when there were ample reasons for outages, it only went off at very brief intervals. Brief enough and random enough intervals to lure me into playing whack-a-mole with the stove, microwave and coffeemaker clocks. Which leads me to one of the great mysteries of the 21st century in terms of technological advancement, or lack thereof: the inability for manufacturers to standardize on things that seem quite simple to the average person. For example, is it really necessary for every digital device to have its own proprietary power supply requiring an equally proprietary charging device? And of course the one that you need is at home when you need it at the office, or in the car when you need it at home or broken. But I digress. Back to the subject of clocks.
In Mr. Maytag’s world you set the time by pressing the ‘Clock’ key (with a picture of a clock on it), selecting morning or afternoon (1 for am, 2 for pm), entering the correct time of day, then pressing ‘Start’. Not all that unreasonable. But when we move to Mr. Hamilton-Beach’s world things start to go a little sideways. He thinks the most logical way to set a clock is pressing the ‘Settings’ button three times to get to the ‘clock’ option, entering the appropriate hour, pressing OK, entering the appropriate number of minutes, pressing OK again, then selecting morning or afternoon (3 for am, 6 for pm), then pressing ‘Start’, at which point the number of minutes is no longer accurate. And at which point I decide to give up on all but the one clock that never stops: Dennis.