Monday, July 8, 2013

Radio Is Like A Time Machine For Me

The other day my alarm clock/radio - which is over thirty years old and dates back to the early days of my marriage to my high school sweetheart - went on the fritz in an annoying way. I've kept it and used it all these years because she gave it to me and it has great sentimental value for me.
But now the radio will not turn off. The alarm still works perfectly when set to buzz (as opposed to having the radio come on, since it is on constantly anyway). But the radio constantly playing low in the quiet of the night is a distraction to me as I try to sleep.
On the way home one day last week I stopped at my local dollar mart thinking I could find a good old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock. (They do still make these, don't they?) All I could find were battery operated alarm clocks. I'm swearing off all these battery operated clocks I have. They annoy the hell out of me, especially as the batteries grow weak and the clocks slowly start going awry.
I guess I will have to give in and go to Wally World in search of my wind-up clock (and yes, I know these can be notoriously inaccurate, too, but I always run my alarm clocks ahead a bit). I just came off a four day break from work and had the time, but it's been so rainy and miserable here, and besides that, my lady friend has been busy with baby sitting chores and work. I really don't like to go shopping alone. 
So in the meantime I have been dealing with the radio, which I have set on a station that plays classic rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The radio - which I have set the volume of as low as possible while still being able to hear the alarm go off - fades in and out: another annoyance with all this!
True story: the other day I had an earworm of that old song Spirit In The Sky. No kidding, it played in my head all day long. The radio had been fading out more than in on this particular day, when suddenly it came back on playing - you guessed it! - Spirit In The Sky.
That song was a favorite of mine and my late brother's when we were teenagers. He had the single and we played it often and sang along to it. Weird that the radio would fade in as my earworm song of the day came on, but my life has always been a bit weird anyway.
For some reason I can date certain events in my life with the songs that I hear, songs which were popular at certain points in my life. Kung Fu Fighting is one of many that always takes me back to my junior high school years. Chicago's If You Leave Me Now, Andy Gibb's I Just Want To Be Your Everything, and Barry Manilow's Weekend In New England were all songs my high school sweetheart (later wife) and I considered our songs. They were big when we were first going together.
On one summer evening, right around dusk, on one of our dates, my sweetheart and I sat parking, holding hands and listening to the radio. The song It's The Right Time Of The Night by Jennifer Warnes came on. I never hear that song now but that I'm not taken back to that summer night and thoughts of when my first love was within arm's reach.
And so it goes that as oldie after oldie plays, I'm taken back in time. Sometimes this painful or bittersweet. I miss many of the times of my life and would love to revisit them briefly. I quit listening to the radio years ago and now I remember why. I have to be in the appropriate mood to want to be transported back in time that way. Most of the time I'm not in that mood. When I am happy, I find those time visits quaint. When I'm depressed the way I have been lately, these sounds rend my heart.

I've held on to this now malfunctioning clock/radio for so long now, through three live-in relationships and long years by myself, it's almost a part of me. But I have to get another alarm clock and soon! This thing is driving me nuts. 


  1. Nostalgia with music: No song evokes for me memories of a person or relationship, but I do remember exactly the occaission when I first heard my first Elvis and Dylan song. Man, I KNEW that a big new star had just arrived!

    Alarm clocks: Surprising to hear one is needed any more. Even the basic cell phones have alarms - maybe you don't have a cell? I looked at Amazon, windup clocks are still on the market. I am such a light sleeper, I remember when I had a clock radio with what was called a crescendo feature - begin with silence and slowing bring the volume up - the idea being a nice gentle transition into the new day. Well, wouldn't ya know, me bein' who I am, the faint sound a a switch activating woke me up, defeating the whole crescendo idea! Sheesh!

    Now I'm going to take a quote from your post and segue into some (attempted) humor:
    "This thing is driving me nuts." That isn't a drive, that's a putt!

    From thence:
    I was on the 18th green yesterday and I hooked the ball onto the highway right through the window of a school bus which swerved into a ditch and burst into flames.
    What did you do then?
    I closed my stance and shortened my backswing.

  2. I FEEL ya. I use a double A, Timex, fold up travel alarm, but it broke a few years ago...still it sits next to me. My $240 Apple Ipod (it dropped half price day after I bought it and no I could NOT get them to give me my money back at lower price) has stopped allowing me access, so I use it as my alarm, so...I have two devices setting next to me (sitting/setting, too tired to think about that)to wake me. When I forget to set my alarm, I wake up at 4AM anyway. Yes, I am a fool. A wind up...I wish.

  3. Hey! It's been almost a week ... hello? :)

  4. @ exrelayman,

    Well, now, this reveals another of my peculiarities: I like to have a pre-alarm to bring me out of my deep sleep, then a final alarm set for an hour or so later. I don't like to play the snooze-bar game because that only annoys me. Basically I wake up without an alarm, providing I slept well - which hasn't been the case lately. I also like having a lighted clock dial to check the time when I wake up throughout the night.

    I do have and use my cell phone alarm. I use it as my pre-alarm. But I use cheapie "dumbphones" and so don't place great stock in their overall dependability. I have had them malfunction before and even quit working altogether with no warning.

  5. @ Diane,

    Usually I need no alarm. But lately I have had some troubled night's sleeps. When I don't rest well I fear oversleeping and being late for work. I like to have two alarms set about forty-five minutes to an hour apart. The first brings me out of any deep sleep and the last awakes me from my final cat-napping. That seems to work well for me (usually) and getting up that way isn't too harsh for me. I still haven't bought a wind-up clock yet. I'm trying to ignore the occasional song outbursts (I have the volume down low but can still hear the radio when it comes on) and relying mainly on my internal alarm and cell phone alarm.

  6. @ Doug Robertson,

    Hey my friend! My latest post details what happened. I've missed being here and used the downtime to catch up on my reading and other things. It's great to be back, though. Thanks for checking on me!

  7. I, also, use songs to bring back exact time, date memories. Wow! Another similarity...........

  8. @ Don,

    Lately, as I have been battling my depression, I am rediscovering the soothing benefits of music. I got so busy I think I forgot. But I don't listen to the radio. I play from my beloved CD collection.

  9. 7/162013. Guess what I heard on Pandora here at work? You guessed it.... Spirit In The Sky! Weird!! Haven't heard it in years!

  10. @ Don,

    How about that! I hadn't heard it in forever the day it kept playing over and over in my head. It really freaked me out when the radio came on suddenly blaring it. Nice song, though. I always liked the music.