On Domestic Metronomes

There's a cuckoo clock in my house and I’m fascinated by its mechanizations. Members of cultures to whom the cuckoo clock is consequential have claimed that the gadget is the soul of their home, but I don’t think I’d give it that much credit. I could settle for “heartbeat” in that its perpetual ticking is the only sign of life when the sentient beings are in repose. But perhaps despite my romantic proclivities, this is still a bit much; rather, the clock is the metronome of my home.

Music and conversation come and go according to whims, but the clock is persistent with its tempo regardless of the caprices of its fellow denizens. My wife has applied the moniker “Fritz” upon the songbird that lives inside our clock and he’s ever stalwart in his enthusiasm to vocally alert us to the passing of each half hour. Some days she will greet him in the morning, or ask if I've put him to bed at night (otherwise, he continues with his enthusiastic refrain during hours that pass more peacefully when not meticulously indexed). Baudelaire's declaration that Time was his sworn enemy makes me wonder if he ever owned such a clock that would so devotedly congratulate him on the slow but constant elimination of his foe.

Baudelaire’s nemesis is mine as well, but for different reasons. The poet bemoaned how difficult it was to kill her, whereas to me, like others before her, she’s an indefatigable seductress whose charms are only matched by her elusiveness. Long have I been concerned that time goes by too quickly and that specific periods, be they weekends, idyllic spells or benign seasons, seem to vaporize upon arrival. I'm told by older acquaintances that time's velocity increases as more of it passes. Enviable here is the seemingly more rapid accumulation of knowledge and experience, but if balance can be achieved at all, the increasingly fast passing of time must be tempered by a greater attention paid to each moment if one has any hope at all of being present. Neglect of this must inevitably lead to occasional bewildering revelations when one questions what happened to their summer, their year or, it’s not inconceivable, their life!

Recently, I've been startled by an unprecedented and unsettling phenomenon. Even in my quietest moments, those when it seems that I'm most placid, the tempo of my cuckoo clock is speeding up. Tick-tock, tick-tock tick-tock... it's true!!! Unquestionably and diabolically, the clock is increasing its pace! I watch the pendulum and it swings with assured aplomb, more aggressively than it used to. As if the feelings and suspicions weren't salient enough, here, on my wall, is physical proof that Baudelaire's crafty enemy is gaining momentum on me!