I Don’t Want You To Be My Alarm Clock. I Just Want You To Tell Me When It’s 6:17.

By: Matthew David Brozik

It’s really not a big deal. Or, if it’s a big deal for you, I can’t see why it is. I don’t want you to “be my alarm clock.” I just need you to do me a small favor and tell me when it’s 6:17. That’s all! Just let me know, however you see fit, when it’s 6:17. Easy.

But if you can, please let me know as early in the minute as possible. Closer to before 6:17 than to after it, I mean. Like, if you could somehow be sure to be watching the time, so that when it’s 6:16 you’re ready for it to become 6:17 and to tell me as much. That’s preferable to just periodically checking your watch or whatever tells you the time and then just happening to notice that it’s 6:17, because then you might not know that it’s actually very close to 6:18, and by the time you tell me that it’s 6:17, it won’t be anymore. Does that make sense? You might want to ask someone to let you know when it’s 6:16. A third person, I mean. Not me, obviously.

Since the whole reason I’m asking you to do this for me is that I don’t have any other way of telling the time or otherwise being made aware of what time it is, I suppose I can’t justify making any requests about what you use to stay abreast of the time, but if you did happen to be open to suggestions or recommendations, I might mention that a watch or clock that you’ve set yourself is not as good as something that receives signals from a dedicated satellite in geosynchronous orbit. Human error, you understand, but nothing personal. And a digital device is of course better than an analog one, if only because sometimes it can be hard to see just where the minute hand is. You might think it’s on the 17, for instance, but it’s really on the 18, and then the moment — the minute, actually — has literally passed. Please don’t tell me that your watch is fancy and has numbers only for the hours — without even a little line for each minute — so you pretty much have to guess at every time in between five-minute intervals.

If you wear one of those “museum watches” with nothing but a dot where the twelve should be, and you have absolutely no idea what time it is unless it’s noon or midnight, I’m not even sure we can be friends anymore. I don’t need to know if it’s noon or midnight, you understand. I need to know when it’s 6:17. I suppose, though, that if you can afford one of those watches, then you probably have other watches as well, less pretentious watches with actual numbers, and maybe you’d be willing to put one of those on? Grab one with a second hand, if possible.

But we’re coming up on 6:17, aren’t we? I can’t say for sure, but I do feel like we are. I have a sixth sense about time, as it happens, though it’s nothing I can rely on. Certainly not if I ever need to know when it’s a very specific time of day, as I do today. But I’ve taken guesses every now and then, and my talent seems to be knowing when it’s either a quarter past or a quarter to an hour, although I admit that more than once I’ve gotten the hour wrong. In any event, I’m willing to bet that it’s 6:15 now, or it just was, or it very soon will be.

Which gives me two whole minutes to say this: I am still not asking you to be my alarm clock, but come 6:17, if you can find it in your heart to let me know that it is 6:17, could you do it in a way that’s somewhat special? I don’t mean in an elaborate fashion, because there’s really insufficient time to arrange anything like that, but I’d be grateful if you could do something more than just tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, it’s 6:17.” I’m not telling you that I expect you to actually beep, or yell, “Cuckoo!” or whistle Dixie, or anything like that, but making some kind of distinctive repeating nonverbal sound would go a long way toward…Hang on! Just let me finish this thought and then you can respond. I know you’re not thrilled about what I’m asking you to —

What? It’s what time? Oh, God damn it. Thanks for nothing.


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