So today during the interminable chores, I noticed it was 3pm and if I was going to be outside at any time during daylight, I would have to get out soon, since I am living in November’s armpit and it’s dark by 4:30, even when it’s holding off the rain.

I went out to get an alarm clock. I didn’t want to do it. I have a long, loving history of slapping at my old alarm clock. It rings. I slap it, my arm rising almost before consciousness, like something in my reptilian brain’s got my arm moving before I begin to think about it. The clock shuts up. That’s our relationship.

But lately, gravity had been hijacking the alarm arm over the course of the night, and it would migrate to straight down, so that I was woken at 6am some days. Not so happy.

I decided I would use my cell phone as an alarm. Lots of people do that. But the problem with that is in the first, addled moments of waking, I would slap the cell phone. It didn’t turn off. It would keep squawking. If I slapped it again, it would shoot across the room, still squawking, and wake me, E and the cat. No one was happy.

So I got the new alarm clock. It is the updated model of the tiny, no-fuss travel alarm I bought some fifteen years ago. The edges are a little rounder, but that’s the only change. It’s the same size with the same style of numbers. It has the same insistent beep.

Best of all, it passes the slap test. I am certainly capable of changing my habits. Just not the ingrained ones I use 1/2 second after being dragged out of sleep.

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