In Which Time Stops

I’m a fan of clocks. Noisy clocks. To me, a house isn’t really living until it’s got that steady metronome clicking away somewhere inside it. We’ve had a clock in our kitchen for years and years, and it’s comforting to me to have the noise always present. (Though I understand it drives some people crazy. Maybe I’m already there?)

A week or two into Social Distancing, my kitchen clock broke. It just stopped holding a wind. I imagine it’s a fairly simple fix, but there’s no where for us to take it at the moment to get fixed, and so the nice reassuring ticking coming from my kitchen has stopped for the time being. That’s the sort of detail you’d throw into a novel and be accused of being too heavy handed with your symbolism, but there you have it.

Time has stopped in my house.

(Well, not completely. I mean, I still have the grandfather clock going away, but it’s really better for chiming, not ticking. I can’t hear the ticking from my office.)

I can tell time is still moving forward. The plants outside my window seem to be growing alarmingly fast, and the lawn has already needed to be mowed twice. I’ve started actually scheduling some outside get-togethers, campfires and tennis and the like. Things you can do at least six feet apart. Tomas is going to be running with some of his friends again, and MC is working on learning how to ride a bike.

So the hallmarks of “today is different than yesterday” are returning, at least to an extent. But it’s still as hard for me as I imagine it is for all of you to remember just what day of the week I’m on. To Do lists help with that, as does my not-nearly-as-used calendar.

In an effort to combat the “one big long day” feeling, I’m trying some other approaches as well. Setting overarching goals and involving the family with them. For example, yesterday we marked out the path for a timed race: run down the road, touch a telephone pole, and run back. Who can do it the fastest? Daniela happily made up a chart for us to record our times. (Tomas did the whole thing in just over two minutes, but I’m proud to say I came in second. Granted, it was a minute twenty longer than it took him, but still. Not bad.) Maybe keeping track of those times will be a fun activity.

But until my clock is fixed, literally and figuratively, I don’t think things are going to feel back to normal. Maybe I should teach myself how to fix it . . .


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