Today is my birthday. I think that what you do on your birthday reflects your priorities for the year, so I really wanted to write. I was having trouble picking from my list of favorites when my husband suggested I write something related to the milestone.
Soooo…I love parties, I love cake, I love ice cream, I love taking time to tell someone they are special to me AND I adore receiving the same treatment. But I don’t have pictures for those topics. I looked around my house and realized another favorite thing works well to mark the passage of time: clocks.
I am not a clock worshipper. I try to be timely, but forgiving friends with flexible time frames know that sometimes I run behind. I am often late sending birthday cards or such. I get to appointments on time, but if there is slack in the time-space continuum, I am likely to find it. (Or it finds me.)
I don’t look at my watch much during the day. I have an instinctive sense of time and can often guess accurately without having checked a timepiece for hours. I usually only check the time when I’m stressed or worried. Maybe that is why I am fond of broken clocks! It’s like someone has pulled the rug out from under my anxiety. I like clocks that work, too, but they are more objects of art or soothing background noise (tick, tock. tick, tock) than they are tracking devices. (Except when I am exercising, and then I am looking at the clock every 20-30 seconds, and each minute expands to feel like five, and I wonder if the clock is, in fact, broken.)
I especially like old clocks. I laugh when I stumble upon my terrorist-grade high school alarm clock at garage sales from time to time. It sounded like an alarm on a nuclear submarine and terrified me so much that I eventually trained myself to wake 2-3 minutes before it went off at 5:40 a.m. (the bus came at 6:30). The digital display was green but the numbers were fuzzy because one of my siblings had painted over the plastic with nail polish and the remover roughed it up. It was like viewing it without my glasses, all the time. Nowadays when I need an alarm, I wake to the crickets tone on my iPhone. Ahhhhh.
First broken clock I acquired: this Bakelite cutie that currently hangs out on our mantel.
Two songbirds by Jim and Tori Mullan keep it company. I found it (for a song! ha!) at the Depot Town Flea Market, filthy. It had a cord and it ran, the seller showed me, but as it turned out, it didn’t run for long without making an alarming hot smell. No matter. I cut off the filthy cord and cleaned it up and now it shines in any spot where it lands.
You can easily kind find beautiful, charming little dinged up old clocks for big money on Etsy and at antique shops. But that’s no fun. I love the hunt. Happily, there are plenty of dinged up old clocks in want of homes at lower rent venues, i.e., Value World, rummage sales, and even the garbage.
The clock pictured here in my crafty nook would not grab me by description alone. I like red but it’s plastic and 80s era and neither one of those descriptors make my heart skip a beat. But look at it! It’s sweet and represents the best of 80s style rather than the worst. (Who needs an overstuffed purple reclining sofa clock, anyway?) And! It was handpicked for me by a friend who (oh baby) knooooowws what I like!
Same friend also found me the gorgeous kitchen timer pictured with Moomin Mama below. Aren’t friends grand?!
The travel clock below has a cool roll-top leather cover. I got it for a dollar. The plain white clock I liked for its simplicity, plus it says Smith, my maiden name. And it perfectly sets off one of Carsten’s pieces of random art: a hand made out of packaging tape.
Sometimes I like fixer-uppers. The pile of watch faces is destined for bird and robot projects (Carsten’s specialty) and the broken down cuckoo clock is due for major refurbishing. I do love a fixer-upper. And at $3, how could I say no? (I guess I’m a girl who just can’t.)