The other day I was driving around, as I do quite often. I enjoy driving down backroads and through the city because it gives me a chance to think. I have had writer’s block in regards to a story I am trying to put together, so I thought a bit of fresh air would help. It did not.
The rest of the day I kept obsessing about the story and characters. I just couldn’t let it go.
Later that night, I was laying in my bed, trying to go to sleep but failing. I tried to listen to my iPod but then became saddened by the fact that I have officially run out of good music. I took my headphones out and looked to the darkened ceiling, hoping for sleep to stop eluding me.
I heard a noise in the dark room that was unmistakably the ticking of my clock. It was louder than I ever remember hearing it. It didn’t bother me at first but then it continued TICK….TICK….TICK
I tried to think some more about my story but my thoughts became muddled by the sounds of the clock above head. TICK…TICK…TICK
I couldn’t help but curse the clock. I began blaming it for why I couldn’t sleep. I contemplated ripping it off the wall and placing it violently into the trash can. TICK …TICK…TICK
I realized that that was not going to be an option as I had come down with a severe case of laziness. So, I lay there and began wishing that I could stop obsessing over the story. I turned back over as the ticking continued and closed my eyes. I felt like I was never going to sleep although my eyes grew heavy and stung from wanton sleep, I just couldn’t rest my mind. Suddenly, I hear something a bit off.
At first, I couldn’t believe my bad luck. I thought, “This terrible metronomic device has gotten worse,” but I realized that it was the clock in the living room trying hard to work in tandem with the clock in my room.
It sounded like they would be out of synch and then back in synch. This yo-yo around each other’s auditory process became mesmerizing.
I couldn’t help but think about their nature. These two devices made for the same sole purpose, telling time, are not in synch. The wooden clock in the front ro0m gave its loud, hollow tick just before my metallic clock gave its sharp, tin-like tick.
I thought about how one or both of these clocks are lying. I thought about how they are wired and the way they worked. I couldn’t tell you how long I lay there thinking about clocks which is actually ironic but I enjoyed it. Finally, I began to see people as clocks. I thought of myself as a clock and the way I tick.
Have you ever looked inward and thought, “Welp, that’s a flaw. Better fix that,”?
I thought about it that night and realized some things about myself that I need to correct. I have the uncanny ability to write people off. If someone doesn’t fit into the idea of what I believe they are, then I write them off and push them away. I think it’s easier that way because of my nature.
I always think about the story of the scorpion and the toad whenever I talk about nature. It’s an old story that I will paraphrase:
A scorpion is sitting morosely at the bank of a river that he can’t cross. A toad swims up and asks what’s wrong and the scorpion tells him that he has to get across the river and that it is extremely important that he makes it there. He asks the toad if he can get on his back and then the toad can swim him across safely. The toad says no at first because he fears that the scorpion will sting him and kill him. The scorpion reassures the toad that he won’t and the toad agrees. They make it safely across the rushing water and to the other side. As the scorpion hops off the toad’s back, he stings him. As the toad lay dying, he asks the scorpion why he did it. The scorpion simply replies, “it’s in my nature.”
I realized that I am both the scorpion and the toad. That’s just how I am. How I work. How I tick. I have been looking out for myself for such a long time that when it comes to meeting people, friends or women, I have this idea of how it should be. If they don’t fit the model, then I distance myself. In my head, these pieces don’t fit. The clock isn’t ticking the way it should be.
The parts that I think make the perfect sentient timepiece just aren’t there.
I lay in bed and mentally kick my own ass for that thinking. It’s an exclusive way of thinking. I had to really make myself realize that that isn’t the beauty of people. I think the beauty of humanity and relationships is not how their pieces and your pieces form a whole clock. No, I think it’s about your clock and theirs complimenting one another. You tick together; in unison.
The beauty of a clock is limited by how well it works.
That’s when I realized more about me. I just want to find a clock like that. Where there is only one ticking sound as we synch. One beat between two clocks. That’s all I want, now. It makes me happy because, since then, I have been looking at my relationships. Some I can keep but others, our clocks don’t read the same time anymore and it is time to say goodbye. This is a good thing because in the end, how great would it be to have a room full of clocks that simultaneously tick.
I can’t help but want to see how other people tick and if their time reads mine.
I finally drifted off to sleep with the sounds of the clocks fading.
That’s pretty honest assessment of yourself Chris. When we make peace with how we are, lots of things in life make more sense and we get happier. I love your clock metaphor, because it (as ever) is pertinent to some of the relationships in my life. It’s important to recognise who synchronises with you and who doesn’t, and you’ve just helped me make an decison on something that was troubling me,thanks Chris;0)
Hey, glad it helped! Yeah, introspection goes both ways. Looking inward at the good and flawed. This is the latter but it’s all towards a goal of being better than what we find ourselves to be, right?