Saturday, August 22, 2009
Status: It's Complicated
I entered into a very complicated relationship today.
Don't worry-- it's not the one with my wife. That one's pretty straightforward. She wears the leather face-mask with rivets. I am the keeper of the safe-word.
No, this isn't a relationship with a woman, or a man, or even a South African track-star who may be both, or possibly neither. Man, I'd hate to be the endrocrinologist who has to make that call.
Anyway, this is a relationship between me and a clock.
A cuckoo clock, to be precise.
My mother-in-law came over last weekend to visit. When she comes to visit, we always get things. She pulls up in her used, red Jaguar wagon and we make an average of five trips from the car to the house. She's like Santa Claus with lip-stick. I'll bet there are Santa Clauses out there who wear lipstick, even while on-duty.
Anyway, she always gives us stuff. Stuff, I believe, is her middle name. Or her maiden name. So, when Stuff-in-Law comes over, it's like fucking Christmas. We don't always want the stuff we get. Sometimes it's stuff even she doesn't want that she tries to unload, usually successfully because guilt is powerful like tractor, on us.
"Well, I got this at TJ Maxx and I didn't really like it-- oh, the price tag's still on there. Do you believe that sale? I mean, the price was right..."
There was even more stuff this time around because this is the first time she's been in our new house for any extended period of time, so it was house-warming time. She was here right at the beginning, a week or two after we'd just moved in. My wife was violently ill, vomiting with appreciable propulsion every hour or so. But it was okay, because her mommie was there. To schlep us both down to fucking Maryland to visit my wife's 106-year-old 1st cousin, twice removed. Fortunately, Mrs. Apron didn't kill him with a strategically-placed vom-shot to the skull.
So, included in the usual pile of home-baked cookies, cast-off, discount clothing and a full-sized ironing board, this time, we also got a present that was, apparently, two-and-a-half years in the making.
"We had this in our house, and then it fell off the wall, and I took it to a shop in Fall River and they said they couldn't fix it, so then I took it to another store and they said they could, but they needed a part and, well, it sat there for a couple years."
Well, the price was right.
It's a Black Forest Cuckoo Clock from Germany. It kind of looks like this:
Tonight, we hung it up and, after my wife consulted a website or two, we figured out how to make it go ticky-tocky and cuckee-clockie. Miraculously, we didn't break it. That would be two-and-a-half year's bad luck, approximately.
Now, I love timepieces. I own four or five pocketwatches, and I'm always on the lookout for the next one, and I have an antique self-winding Bulova wristwatch. One day, there will be both a steeple mantle clock and a grandfather clock in this house, just give me time + money. This clock, um, doesn't really do it for me. Now, I know what they say about looking a gifthorse in the mouth-- he'll let you count his cavities before he severes your cervical vertabrae-- but I just can't help it. The first person with whom I was honest about my feelings towards the cuckoo clock was my own mother.
"So, when your mother in law comes into town, hang it on the wall."
Ah, but it's not so simple, I explained. Mrs. Apron also likes the clock. Finally, after a week of dreading speaking the truth, I said something.
"I don't like it, I'm sorry,"
"What don't you like about it?" Mrs. Apron queried, smiling, signaling that it was not perhaps the choicest reaction, but that it was okay.
"Well, it looks like it was painted with poop. And those three pinecones dangling from the chains look like turdlettes."
"Well, I like it," she said steadfastly.
It's in our dining room. As we watched COPS together, it cuckooed its goddamn head off. I smiled.
See-- this is where it gets complicated.
The clock does indeed look like some German clockmaker in lederhosen dipped his paintbrush in a bowlful of digested sauerbraten-- but that goddamn little bird that comes out to say "Guten morgen" every half-an-hour is just pretty fucking irresistable.
Though it's only been hanging for less than three hours, I can already see myself making excuses to go downstairs to hang around the dining room just so that I can catch a glimpse of the elusive avian creature.
"Oh, I just need to get, um, a napkin..." and I'll disappear down the stairs so I can catch the 3:00pm show at the aviary.
I can't help it, I'm smitten with that little bastard.
Even if he lives in a house covered in dookie.