The alarm clock on the night table beside our bed,
Cristie had before she met me in college in the late 1980s.
It's called "SPARTUS" and it has wood paneling on the sides and the top.
(A nod to a bygone age when alarm clocks were carved out of wood?)
The SPARTUS appears to have been designed by the same stylist who built
It boasts a "Battery Reserve" (which we've never had to use, Thank God),
And there's a button that says, "Snoozer/Battery Tester";
The button is loose, from all the pounding; and the "Batt Low" light has been on since the first Bush presidency.
The SPARTUS is dirty, as if some of the years of dust has soaked into the plastic.
Its tone is at once tired and harsh, wheezy and sharp, old and unsentimental.
I hate it some mornings and think, "Maybe in the last quarter century,
alarm-clock engineers have found a pleasanter sound."
("You probably wouldn't like any alarm sound," Cristie says.)
But the SPARTUS has sounded the keynote to many happy early-morning golf days and some butterfly-stomached pre-dawn departures and a number of family vacations.
Some mornings I roll over look at the SPARTUS and casually muse, and I imagine Cristie does too,
"How long are we going to have this old thing?"
Until it stops waking us up, I figure.