There might be no point to this story. But it’s all true.
There are two alarm clocks in my bedroom. One sits on my nightstand and looks and behaves like a proper dual alarm clock. The other is a battery-powered travel alarm, and it’s utterly lost.
Every night at 3:05 a.m. its muffled, high-pitched alarm chirps gamely for exactly thirty seconds. This has gone on for three years.
I don’t remember when I got it or why, although I can picture it. It’s made of black plastic, about four inches square. It’s improbable that I set that alarm – I’m either very awake at that hour or not going to be.
I’ve searched for it many times. It’s maddening – the target area is so small it should be easy to find. It hasn’t.
What’s in the area?
My dresser. My beliefs regarding laundry require me to completely empty my dresser before doing it, then completely refill the dresser – it’s definitely not in there. My bed and the badlands underneath, where creatures known as dust bunnies gather to practice sedition or worse. They don’t have it. Metal baseboard radiators, into which it could conceivably fall and hide (but didn’t).
And that’s it, and it’s in none of those places. I’ve looked. I’ve looked again.
So I resort to a game of cat and mouse. When I’m awake at 3 a.m. and remember, I get into position, ready to pounce. When the alarm goes off I frantically listen, search, listen, search – rifling through drawers, looking behind the dresser, between sheets, between mattresses, under the bed…
I only have thirty seconds before it disappears back into the strange, silent lostness.
Is it human nature to search and re-search the same place because something “has got to be *somewhere*?” I hope so. Life behind the dresser doesn’t change much, but I keep looking back there expecting to find that clock — even though it has never once been there, not even when I sneaky pretended to be looking somewhere else in an attempt to catch it off guard.
So this alarm clock has been singing to me each night for three years, near what Ray Bradbury called the “soul’s midnight.” I always try to find meaning in things – it’s always there, even if you have to put it there. Even in seemingly meaningless mysteries like this.
Maybe it’s buried under the floorboards, trying with its piercing shrill to needle its way deep among the layers of my conscience.
I doubt it. Like I said. there might be no point to this story – except maybe that insanity is looking for something in the same places over and over, and still expecting to find it.