Friday, March 23, 2007

668 days, 1 hours, 25 minutes, 57 seconds

On the wall of her house upstate, in the room that used to be her study, there's a cardboard Howdy Doody clock. White, red, and blue. The puppet's face, then the numbers around it, and the two moveable clock hands. She wants to say she had this from her childhood, but in truth she bought it at a street fair the third weekend she and her husband spent together. She loved Howdy Doody, though. No lie.

Children today have digital clocks and watches (when they bother to wear a watch at all). They won't have to know the big hand vs. the little hand. That's what always confused his best friend's daughter. Now, for her daughter, for Christmas, they buy a plush Hickory Hickory Dock Clock with six brightly colored mice and a pendulum that rattles. The mice go in the chimney and come out the door. In her house upstate, not far from where she's hung Howdy Doody, there are real mice.

668 days, 1 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds

It was wrong to have reset her clock to the instructions at, when the keychain was actually purchased from Now, looking at their site, she sees it, too, is an hour off. That's what happens when she orders from California, she supposes. But she wanted to support the Bookshop Santa Cruz. Bullshit. She wanted free shipping.

668 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes, 49 seconds

Much as she's feared – the keychain and the computer's clock don't match – only the computer got this early start to daylight savings time. A submarine might have clearer instructions. There's the current time, then January 20, 2009 as the goal (actually you could set it for any time, up to 2024). At one point it looks as if there are 2400 days left. Then she finally gets everything set, but the clock on the computer says six hours, the one in her hand now says two. She runs a cold hand over her forehead, twirls a finger in her hair, finally remembers to refresh the computer's clock. The keychain's two minutes behind. Close enough. It's been a long day.

668 days, 6 hours, 39 minutes, 5.2 seconds

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 38 seconds, 37 seconds, 35 seconds. She's waiting for one friend and one woman she's never met before. 30 seconds. This clock will never be stolen because our employees are always watching it, above the counter in one tacky diner after another. 38 minutes. She got here early. A waitress comes over to say hello. This is where she usually eats with her husband.

668 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes, 7 seconds

Again, late at night, she looks over old mail, mostly newsletters sent to her G-mail address. Breast cancer. Diabetes. Migraine. Why she continues to subscribe to all these is beyond her. She doesn't need to give hypochondria food for thought. She's got the best doctors. The migraines are under control.

Her headaches are almost under control. She waited too long to call the doctor, now has to wait over a week before she sees him. Botox only takes a minute, she tried to convince the receptionist. He said he could fit her in. He promised... An appointment for March 30. Her 17th anniversary. A reminder of the days leading up to her wedding. She didn't want to get married with a sinus headache, she decided, spur of the moment. She had no doubt it was sinus. A doctor thought brain tumor.

She said she'd marry him and then had her head examined: quip one. She had her head examined and they found nothing: quip two. This was before the cancer, before the diabetes, before she had access to the Internet.