ode to a clockradio

July 15, 2003
With my extended family today. A blast from the past, a ramble I wrote for the June 1999 Blender of Love and forgot about. But I'm glad to have it here on this site.

I've already written about how inanimate objects can take on new significance in the context of romance. (An idea wonderfully explored in Tom Robbin's "Still-life with Woodpecker") One of these tokens is on the verge of leaving my life and it's sad, in a goofy sort of way.

My family has had this Sony "Dream Machine" clock radio for years. It's a practical, almost feisty little cube. Throughout high school it dutifully sat in the bathroom, its turquoise LED showing the time to anyone who took the time to look, and tinnily playing the Cleveland Oldies station for me and the NPR station for my mom. (Since then, I've realized that my mom had much better taste in radio programming.)

This service, however faithful, wouldn't be enough to earn this memorial in the Blender of Love. Not until college did it the clockradio play a role in my romantic life. College was where I first got the chance to sleep with (in the non-biblical sense) the people I was in love with, and the Sony Dream Machine was there to wake me and my beloved so that we could face another day of classes. The fact that there is more than one woman I woke up with during this time somehow strengthens my bond with this little machine: it proved to be a more constant companion than any romantic interest. In fact, you could say that I was fairly intimate with that clockradio (in the non-biblical sense,) able to set its alarm in the dark, able to turn off its alarm while still slumbering. I'll remember some of those early morning tableaus for the rest of my life.

But now, it's time to move on. The clockradio is looking pretty grungy. Years ago the plug for its 9-volt backup battery broke- when the power goes, so does its sense of time. When you shake it, there's a very suspicious clunk and rattle. Still, I would probably be able to squeeze more years of service from it, but currently the bedroom has no room for a bedside table, so I had to get a new alarmclock, one with a giant readout that I can easily read from a distance, even without my glasses. I'll miss the little cube, however, and am grateful for the job it's done, and the role it has played in my romantic history.