CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Clock Buzzes, Beeps, Knocks But No Tick Tocks

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

When I moved into Keiro Retirement Home some 18 months ago, I came sans baggage of any magnitude. A frying pan, tea kettle, a few (micro) plates, shoyu, salt and pepper, frozen bacon. Never was an “o-sha-re” but tried to be neat and in fashion at the wife’s behest. Because of restricted closet space, I donated most everything: suits, jackets, sport coats, collared shirts, ties, even socks.

One special item I brought with me was eldest son Eric’s fancy RCA clock/radio. Not just for sentimental reasons. It looks like something that belongs in a George Takei “Star Trek” collection [whatever that means]. Never could figure out how the many fancy features work, even the radio, but the large numbers that flash in three colors make it real easy to tell what time it is.

Resetting it when Daylight Savings comes and goes poses no problem. I simply leave it status quo and simply make a mental note of whether it’s time to spring forward or fall back. An old-fashioned clock radio sits by my bed and is easy to adjust when necessary, thank you very much. The bedroom television control box also displays the correct time, so I’m well equipped to know the time when “O” makes an early morning visit. And it resets automatically to the correct seasonal hour as well as when there’s a power outage.

[Historical Note: I quit wearing a wrist watch in 1974 when I left the employ of Yamato Restaurant. Time is all-important as a restaurateur, so discarding a watch was like being unshackled. Haven’t owned or worn one since.]

So there’s today’s story setup; here are the details:

The other day I noticed it was noon and hurried to the dining room. When confronted by an empty dining room, I realized I had arrived an hour early! It was only 11 a.m. Thankful no one was around to witness such an embarrassment, I decided it was time to put the clock in proper sync for fear of making the shameful mistake twice.

So there I am in bed that night at 10:08 watching the news when I hear a strange, buzzing noise. Because it was so soft and distant, I am puzzled. Then perk up: “O” has found a new way to announce her presence. I warily get out of bed to investigate.

Alas, it’s Rick’s clock alarm going off. Half relieved and 55% dejected, I figure the resetting process had somehow triggered an alarm feature. I commence to press and punch every knob and button in sight, somehow making the thing finally go silent. Proudly strutted back to bed to watch the long-haired nymphs that pass for reporters on Channel 5 News.

Beep beep beep. At 10:28 it goes off again, with a new sound, kinda like that cartoon character that’s always running too fast. Muttering words not fit for Rafu readers, I trundle into the other room and commence to smack it around again. It stops beeping. Only to again sound off at 10:52. Now it’s the end of the line/rope/patience, so I unplug the @%!#?* thing! If “O” had found a new way to intrude, unplugging the cord was my metaphorical response.

Would you believe me if I tell you it continued to beep even AFTER being disconnected? I hate to think what a strange sight it was, me punching and probing and punishing, eventually managing to flip open the clock’s glass facing before it finally made one final beep. For good reason. I had killed it. I was now a clock killer.

I’m thinking: Geez, another sappy experience to share with CR2S readers.

Having to wait until Son J bails me out, I wrap the cord around the bedraggled clock and put it on my night stand. Why? Because deep down I knew I would pay a price for murdering the time piece. Sure enough, 12 hours later, without power and a face piece, it croaked out a complete new sound: a gentle, quiet knock knock knock knock knock knock knock. The truth, I swear! After 12 such knocks, it quits.

No need for a blow-by-blow of what followed. I miraculously got it back into working condition — but the knock knock knocks sounded off every 24 hours at exactly 3:46 p.m., again an even dozen and stops. [It turns out there are batteries hidden in its bowels, which explains its continuing to operate without electricity.]

After J returns to conduct a reset, guess what happens #4? KRH experiences a temporary power outage, which makes the darn thing return to its blinking lights routine and is now 3 hours and 1 minute fast. But at least there is no synchronized buzzing, beeping or knocking. After yet another adjustment, it is now a minute slow, but who cares? What’s 60 seconds in a frazzled life worth today? Probably more aggravation.

So there you go, folks. Sinatra sings “My Way” in duet with Paul Anka in the background (“Regrets, I’ve had a few …”) as I conclude this week’s exercise in futility. Ever in a pensive mood, I’m wondering if up to another challenge: Should I correct the time on my car clock?

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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  1. Takasumi A Kojima on

    Wimpy; Nostalgia and Reminiscence: Today, when we look back, we see a much better country than when we left the camps in 1945. All these reminiscences, however enteraining, were only some of the arabesques upon the cake’s icing. Very soon we had our own myths to add to the collection. These small adventures sound trivial in retrospect, but everything at that time was bathed in the radiant light of mutuual discovery and joy in each other.

    All of us go through a process of life review, in which there s a progressive return to consciousness of the past experience, and particurlarly, resurgence of unresolved conflicts. At the same time, it is clear that some kind of preparation for passage is an inevitable, even central part of life in these last years. But in the years past 70s, the imminence of passage is inescapable and must be faced by each of us.

    Wishing all Nisei success with your remaining life and venturing to express the hope that you will not allow yourself to be hurried; with kind regards and good wishes; we offer our appreciation and approval for all important act conducted during your lifetime; please accept our personal thanks for all, and to each of you.

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