Alarm Clock Tyranny

If you’ve been following along, you already know how I feel about my voicemail.  I assure you, this fear and loathing has nothing on the emotions I feel in regard to my alarm clock.  I harbour serious, deep and lingering resentment toward this evil work of technology.  How the day begins is very important – it can set the tone for the next 24 hours.  Having this nasty little machine blasting me with its horrifying sound is not what I need in my first seconds of consciousness.

When I am Queen of the World, things are going to be different. 


  • Kisses.  You can never go wrong with kisses.  Similarly, most sex-related options are generally acceptable, as long as they are initiated by someone you intended to be in the bed with you when you awaken.
  • Soft, golden sunlight (the summery kind, not the cold, bright white wintery stuff), streaming in through billowing curtains, accompanied by gentle ocean breezes.
  • Birds – but the cute, chirpy kind, not the crowing kind (with the possible exception of a properly functioning rooster clock *see below)
  • Strawberries, chocolate croissants and freshly-squeezed orange juice being delivered by a personal manservant.
  • Publisher’s Clearing House banging on the door to let you know you’ve won the big one.

However, I realize that none of these options are guaranteed on any sort of reliable basis, so another solution to the whole having-to-go-to-work thing must be found.

Now, my friend Pam also has an aversion to screeching buzzy noises and has decided she would rather wake up to the sound of my delightful voice, and because she works days and I work nights, I give her wake-up calls every morning.  Wake-up calls wouldn’t work for me.  Having a rather blurred line between reality and REM, I bear an uncanny ability to incorporate outside stimuli into my dreams.  I can carry on entire phone conversations and then roll right back over and go back to sleep, without remembering a thing about it the next day.  Which has resulted in my mother, while giving me important information over the phone, being prone to randomly shouting out, “Are you awake?!  Are you going to remember this?!” 

I am, in general, a happy and optimistic person – I believe there is no problem in this world that cannot be solved.  So I have gone to great lengths to improve this alarm clock situation.  Years ago, I had a revelation and I threw away my cheap, crappy, screechy digital alarm clock and went on the hunt for The Perfect Alarm Clock.  I bought and returned so many different clocks that the employees of every Eaton’s, Sears, Radio Shack, Hudson’s Bay Company and Circuit City for miles around were on alert to go into lockdown when they saw me coming.

There was the really funky one that sounded like a rooster.  I liked that one.  But it lost five minutes on every hour.  Back it went.

There was the very expensive one that attempts to wake you with increasing levels of (hah!) light.  Don’t even get me started on that one.

Then I saw a cute little retro clock – you know, those cartoony ones with the bells on top?  I was tickled with this, because I love anything vaguely pre-1960.  I imagined myself in an old black and white movie, sleeping gracefully draped with silk sheets, wearing a satin eye mask, with perfectly-arranged hair and makeup, waking to the cute jingle of my cute little retro clock.  HAH!  Have you ever heard one of these things?  Oh.  My.  GOD. 

I contemplated the clock radios…but I am just far too sensitive to tunes to allow someone else to program the soundtrack for my entrance into a new day.

When I was younger, my parents gave me an alarm clock that was built into a baseball – you actually had to chuck it against a wall to make it shut up.  Yeah, whatever.  I busted it on the third day.  Great idea, but they obviously didn’t know about me when they designed it.

But these experiences were not wasted.  Over time, I fine-tuned and refined my idea of The Perfect Alarm Clock.  It had to be analog – none of those glowing red demonic numbers.  It had to be battery-operated (in case of power outages).  It had to fit in my hand, because I have this lame-o thing I do…  When the alarm goes off in the morning, I grab the clock, press snooze and then clutch the clock in my hand to keep myself from falling back asleep too deeply.  And then I keep pressing snooze about 5 or 6 times before I finally peel myself out of bed.  So The Perfect Alarm Clock would also definitely require a snooze button.  And it had to have a light, so that when I wake in panic thinking I’ve overslept, I can light up the clock and see what time it really is.  (Yes, this happens more than I want to admit.)  It also had to have a reasonably pleasant sound.  Beeps, not screams.

Well, I finally found the perfect alarm clock.  I did.  (Bear in mind that all things being relative, this was the best one I could find considering all alarm clocks are the work of Satan.)  It was Perfect.  Even Martha Stewart had rated it The Best.  And it wakes you up with a gentle beepbeepbeepbeep….beepbeepbeepbeep, which gradually increases in volume should you be tempted to ignore it.

Things went great, for almost 10 years.  Then the relationship went sour when I accidentally knocked it off the nightstand and things were never the same after that.  It was a tragic day.  I’m still in therapy.

But, I figured it wouldn’t be so bad – I’d just buy another one.  It was only 10 bucks, for heaven’s sake.  So I went back to the store where I bought it and bought another.  But after a single test run, my new little friend almost wound up in the river.  It was NOT THE SAME CLOCK!  Upon returning to the shop and interrogating the clerk like he was keeping my first-born hostage, the little wanker mumbled something about the company merging with another and discontinuing the original clock. 


Well, I finally found a substitute.  And though I frequently plot against it, fantasize about it being kidnapped or assassinated, consider taking out a restraining order or suing it for mental anguish, it’s okay.  It’s a Timex.  It’s decoratively pleasing.  But truly, it’s not the same.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 2:41 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I just bumped you, sorry.
    I adore your article about the waking up and alarm clocks!

  2. Aw man! this is so damn cool…lucky least u got a solution fro ur problem….ma annoyance is the inability to whistle…n it just won’t do with any ordinary plastic whistles..i want to do it WITH MY OWN HAND N MOUTH…which is seemingly impossible after attempting every single day of my 20 year old life

  3. Thanks, guys.

    And mystictouch: Google ‘whistle with fingers in mouth.’ This was one of my (*snicker*)’goals’ for last year and I finally learned how to do it, thanks to some website I don’t remember the URL for. It’s really fun. And loud. And fun to do when in really crowded places, followed by pretending you didn’t do it, so people look confused.

    (God, that is so lame…perhaps I shouldn’t admit things like this…)

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