Makes you wonder

Sunday March 26, 2006

When I peered through bleary eyes at my bedside radio alarm this morning I was a little surprised to find it telling me it was past seven-thirty. I very seldom over-sleep these days and, while there’s no actual reason to be up and about early, I’m generally fumbling around in the kitchen well in time to greet the sun when it rises above the hedgerows.

So when I got to the kettle, snapped it on, and drew the blinds, I began to feel distinctly out of kilter. No sign of the sun.

Not the kind of absence of sun you get when the clouds extend right down to the horizon, like the under side of a drearily grey aluminium saucepan lid. That came later in the day, along with wind and rain. No, this was more the kind of absence of sun that happens because the blessed orb is nowhere near ready to rise yet.

I shook my head carefully, poured boiling water through the coffee, and took my mug into the study to snap on my computer. While waiting for it to whir into life I wandered back into the kitchen to fetch a tissue or something, caught sight of the wall clock, and stopped dead in my tracks. Something wrong here. It was showing only six forty-five.

“Oh, lordy, Dolly,” I said. “No wonder I’m confused. I think they must have changed the clocks while we were asleep.”

That’s the snag, you see, when some of your clocks are automatic, changing to accommodate the twice a year switch between Greenwich Mean Time and British Summer time while the others go on happily recording the time zone in which they were last set.

Starting the day in a disorientated, confused state about time isn’t a good thing to do as you get older. The retired person normally wanders through the day to some kind of a time-table, you see, with the clock fixing the time when vital things ought to be done. When the clocks don’t agree on the time you feel a little lost, drifting rudderless on an unseen sea with inadequate navigational aids.

It got better later when Graham woke and fetched the steps so’s he could reset the non-automatic clocks. Not completely better but at least my confusion was uniform in each room of the house.

“I wonder what happens to all those hours,” I pondered as I handed him a mug of tea.

“The pixies take them.”

“What do they do with them, then?” I asked, entering into the spirit of the thing.

“They dust them off, catalogue them, and store them carefully until the time comes to give them back.”

“Sounds logical.”

“It’s as logical as you’re going to get on the question of changing the clocks.”

“Fair enough,” I said, and turned to the task of getting through the day, adjusting to the new scheme of things.

My feeling of confusion, a perfectly genuine feeling of confusion, I assure you, ebbed slowly away and, by the time we’d had dinner this evening, preceded by a nice bottle of chardonnay, I was back to normal, though I was still pondering the question of the day.

“You know those pixies,” I said. “The ones that look after all our lost hours?”


“Well, I hope they’re good at their job. I’d hate to get someone else’s hour back by mistake. That’d be really confusing.”

“You don’t need a reason to be confused. You do a really good confused already.”

“Perhaps so. Makes you wonder, though.”


Conversation in the Roman Cafe



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