My 2-year-old daughter pads into my room each and every morning with sleepy eyes, her hair a tangled mess and her pajama bottoms sagging heavily with a wet diaper, and before saying good morning to me, she points to the clock on my bedside table and asks, “Wat dat?”
That of which she speaks is the clock I’ve had for no fewer than 22 years, although it could actually be closer to the quarter-century mark at this point. From the time I needed to start to be woken to go to school until the day I left for college, my dad was my alarm clock. He walked into my room every morning, flipped on the overhead light, opened my shades, and sang, “Good morning! Good morning! You slept the whole night through! Good morning, good morning to you!”
It might sound charming, but for someone who (then and now) would gladly and easily spend her life sleeping instead of doing absolutely, positively anything else in the world, it was totally annoying. Not so annoying, however, that I figured out how to use the alarm clock that he bought me a few years before leaving for college so I could learn slowly how to just get myself up each morning and avoid his utterly irritating song-and-dance routine.
In fact, in the first few months after I left for college, my still dad called me every morning to wake me up so I still didn’t have to learn how to use the clock. I can’t exactly recall how it ultimately came to pass that he stopped calling and I started using the alarm clock. It might have had something to do with my roommate being annoyed by early-morning phone calls or me just blowing off my first-period classes entirely, but there did come a time when I figured out how to use the clock. These days when I need to use an alarm, I set my iPhone. But my Sony Dream Machine remains my faithful bedside companion. (You know, and my husband, too.)
I don’t use the Sony alarm clock as an alarm clock — ever. Nor do I use it as a radio. And, really not even as a clock — the cable box on the shelf in front of my bed is more directly in my field of vision. While all of the clock’s functions are still in tact, it’s just a piece of nostalgia that I enjoy having next to me. I look at it and reminds me of the deep, abiding love for my dad and his unwavering devotion to me (and to annoying me). Sometimes it reminds me to pick up the phone and call him. But mostly it’s kind of a part of who I am at this point, sort of like the mole smack in the middle of my left shin or my propensity for crying at Charmin toilet paper commercials.
It amuses me to no end that neither my 2-year-old nor my 5-year-old know what it is. My toddler I can understand. My kindergartner, however, knows what clocks are. Or at least she know what time is. This clock, however, looks to her how people in the 1930s imagined cars would look in the 2010s — and when we look back at those renderings now, we laugh and laugh at just how stupid people were. Which is pretty much how my kids regard me and the clock on my bedside table.
It is in the very same spirit that a newly viral video makes me laugh as much as it does. A bunch of modern-day kids are shown good, old-fashioned rotary phones, and as you might imagine, they just don’t know what to make of them, and inevitable hilarity ensues. Take a look:
Photo credit: Meredith Carroll
Video credit: The Fine Bros./YouTube
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