First published in Gulf News “Off the Cuff”
Marriage is not just the union of two souls; it is also the somewhat cumbersome merger of the habits, idiosyncrasies and tastes of two individuals. Of course the presence of that wonderful thing called love transforms everything into a seamless acceptance but along the way, invariably, there are speed bumps. Some are as large and insurmountable as a daunting mountain, whilst some jolt you just a little bit, like the one below.
Our marriage was in its infancy and one of the things that irked me about my new bedroom was that it didn’t have a wall clock. Every time I needed to know the time I would have to check my cellphone and the empty wall where the clock should have been annoyed me. The husband, however, didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, he seemed quite happy. Fed up at last, I went and bought an elegant wall clock. It matched the contemporary look of the room perfectly. Excited with the purchase, I stood on a piece of furniture and hung it on the wall. I smiled every time I saw the time, and I was sure he would love it too. “It’s quite nice,” he said appreciatively when he saw it later that day. Strangely though, the very next morning, when I looked up to see the time, all I saw was a blank white wall staring mockingly at me.
What on earth had happened? I found the abandoned artefact lying in the lounge and, mystified, I put it back in its rightful place. Imagine my surprise when the same thing happened the next morning, and the one after it. This called for some serious confrontation.
“You didn’t take that lovely clock off the wall last night, did you?”
“Oh that. I did. I meant to tell you. It has a problem — it ticks.”
Disturbance at night
Certainly the man did not mean to say that a clock should not tick? A heated conversation ensued during which I learnt that the tick-tock sound the clock made disturbed him when all was quiet and he found it difficult to nod off. Every morning I would determinedly put the clock back on and every night without fail he would remove it. Suffice it to say that this arrangement was far from amicable and something had to be done.
It sounds silly, but the only way I remembered noiseless clocks was when I saw some on display inside a mall. There was a slight problem though. The stylish silent clock that I liked was rather costly, in fact it cost more than double the discarded specimen back home. “Surely, your cellphone shows the time? Must we buy this notoriously over-priced clock?” he reasoned.
I looked around for something more reasonably priced, and the shop assistant showed us some beautiful clocks with one major flaw: they made that ticking sound. We discussed the clock issue, a little too loudly for comfort and, finally, for the love of dignity, we bought the new clock and made ourselves scarce. He handed me the carrier bag containing the noiseless wonder and I muttered a sheepish thanks.
“Whatever makes you tick,” he replied with a grin. The pun made me smile.