A True-Life Microsecond Melodrama
(Edited excerpt from an e-mail to a few friends)
I experienced a micro-moment of genuine terror this morning — alone in my bed, literally during that proverbial hour of darkness before the dawn.
I can tell you the exact minute the incident occurred because, ironically, the mismeasure of time was the cause of my crisis.
Has this ever happened to you?
I awoke at 5:05 and glanced at the digital clock with its large L.E.D. numbers glowing red in the darkness by the side of my bed. Yes, 5:05 exactly.
But with me being characteristically dim-witted and bleary-eyed from having just awakened, however, my first read of the clock face was dyslexic. Instead of 5:05, I interpreted the alpha-numeric characters by their alpha equivalents rather than their numeric values. So what I saw was: "SOS"!!!
Ohmygod, my alarm clock was sending me the international signal of distress! Alarming! Dear Sweet Jesus, save our souls!
An impending disaster — potentially of titanic proportions — might be at hand, and here I was lying down on the job, so mindlessly groggy and completely butt-naked. Momentary Panic! (Maybe I should rethink my "no jammies" preference.)
What should I do!?
Well, what I did was this: I re-read and re-interpreted the data. "Ohhh,... 5:05."
Whew! Crisis averted.
The sense of dread faded from my mind. The tension eased from my body.
I closed my eyes and immediately slipped back into a cozy slumber. Zzzzzz....
(Oh, and it's not the first time this kind of non-event has happened to me. Jeez. But I won't bore you with the tale of the time — 11:11, to be exact — when again I misread a digital clock and inadvertently ended up with the chorus of a traditional Mexican folksong stuck in my mind, being played and sung over and over and over again by my own "inner Mariachi band that should be forever banned." Jeez. 1,1,1,1 = I, I, I, I = Aye, aye, aye, aye. Get it? ¡Dios mío!)
Be well, Dear Pilgrim, be happy. Know peace, know love. Find joy wherever it awaits you. Live in light, live in bliss. Bless your heart.
—Sweet dreams, Brother Dave
PS: Well, it has been a few years now since the incident described above actually occurred. In retrospect, I think that if an SOS message had really been sent to me through the clock, it probably would have been most fitting to have been a distress call from the clock itself. Because, hey, that poor clock died soon thereafter. Yep, you guessed it: Its time was up.
I replaced that generic off-brand clock with a Sony Dream Machine ICF-C490 AM/FM clock radio. I chose the Sony because, like its predecessor, it has a large and bright L.E.D. display. Unlike its predecessor, however, the Sony has a green-light rather than red-light display. (And "Dream Machine" is a kinda/sorta catchy warm-'n'-fuzzy name. Dontcha think? Or dontcha? I mean, it's much more consumer-friendly than, say, "The Kill-You-In-Your-Sleep Machine," for example.)
But get this:
When I woke up this morning, an L.E.D. segment in the digital display of the Dream Machine was not working properly. Specifically, what was malfunctioning was the middle horizontal bar of the number closest to the colon, on the hour-side of the clock face. With that segment being dark when it should have been glowing, it made what was supposed to be the number 6 look more like a minimalist capital-letter G. So, imagine my surprise when, promptly at 6 o'clock as the alarm went off and I reached out to tap the snooze-bar, instead of the expected six and two zeros, I saw the word GOO.
Let me tell ya, it can be more than a little jarring to wake up in a dark room in which the only thing visible is glowing fluorescent-green GOO.
Brother Dave's Doggerel For The Day, 11/19/12
And no, it wasn't a trick of bleary-eyed eyesight or some hallucination caused by lingering dream-state psychosis. When I finally arose at G:28am, a few sharp knuckle-raps to the top of the clock failed to change the G to a 6 — this while under the scrutiny of my wide-eyed, wide-awake, analytical gaze.
Occasionally, as I cleaned up in preparation for going off to work, I wondered if this clock, too, is now not long for this world. Time will tell, I thought.
Then, this evening after having worked a long day (11 hours, but not as long as I had expected), I was able to get back home still within the 6 o'clock hour. But now post meridian, of course, not ante meridian. And I was glad to find that the alarm-clock-6-that-had-been-a-G-this-morning was once again just a 6. The middle horizontal bar was glowing as it should. And all was well with the world.
(Will the 6 again be a 6 tomorrow morning? Time will tell, Pilgrim. Time will tell.)
Just another true story from my home planet.
And so it goes.
And now, m'Dear, I'm outta here.
Be well, be happy. And, too, be ever-vigilant against an otherwise-unexpected pre-dawn sneak-attack of the glowing slime-green GOO. Whew! (And if the GOO should come for you, don't waste time trying to send me an SOS via my alarm clock. It would only confuse me. So, sorry, Pilgrim, but you're on your own. Just be forewarned: At first sight of glowing GOO, fight or flight, it's up to you.)
PPS: I awoke from a weird dream in the wee hours this morning. First thing I did after opening my bleary eyes was glance at the alarm clock. The glowing-green L.E.D. display read "4:04." Still being oh-so groggy though, my first fuzzy thought was that I had encountered an online 404 error message. Oy! Even without making its annoying buzzing "wakey-wakey" sound, my alarm clock can still be very alarming at times. Oy, again! At least I didn't try to view the numeric characters as alpha characters in this instance.
Stayed up late last night, then slept in this morning
'Cause I could and it seemed like the thing to do.
When I groggily glanced at the clock at eight a.m.,
The digital display initially seemed to say, "BOO."
NOTE: Yes, it's true. Again. I slept in till exactly eight o'clock this morning and, instead of reading "8:00," I interpreted the alpha-numeric characters by their alpha equivalents rather than their numeric values. Thus, a scary "BOO."
My alarming alarm clock dyslexia has been a recurring malady for several years now. Perhaps when science finally gets around to studying this particular sort of dysfunction and the heartbreak it can cause, it will be named after me. How 'bout something like Mister Lister's Digital Dyslexia? (And, heck, if I'm still alive, maybe I'll be asked to guest-host the first telethon to finance the search for a cure. I suppose "Poster Boy" would be an interesting title in a résumé.)