Old folk at lunch

Friday, September 3, 2010

The clock in my head



I have in my head something which is, I think, exclusive to people of Northern European ancestry: A clock.

It is a clock which has both conscious and unconscious components -- and even works in my sleep. For instance, I wake up most mornings pretty well on the dot of 7am -- Sometimes literally on the dot of 7am. These days I mostly just look blearily at the clock and turn over and go back to sleep but 7am was once my getting-up time and my subconscious still thinks it is.

Another interesting example was when I booked my car in for servicing with Dieter, an old friend who also is my mechanic: He keeps my cars on the road. Dieter is German (as the name implies) and I told him that I would bring the car over at "about" 8am. I of course arrived on the dot of 8am and there was Dieter waiting in the driveway with his arms folded -- waiting for me. We understood one-another. Neither of us are in fact in any ancestral way Prussian but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. And there was a second occasion quite recently, when I said to Dieter that I would bring the Humber over for servicing at "about" 9am. I of course arrived on the dot and, as I arrived, Dieter had just completed the preparations he needed to deal with the servicing concerned.

There are many examples of this unconscious clock (Could I make it work deliberately? Perhaps not) but the most recent example is quite eerie. These days I buy a lot of frozen dinners that just need 5 minutes in the microwave to produce a very acceptable dinner at the end of it.

So I put on the dinner in the microwave and set it for 5 minutes. I then leave the kitchen and return to my computer at the other end of the house. After a while on the computer, however, I feel that my frozen dinner should be just about cooked so I get up to go and check it. And as I walk towards the kitchen what I often hear is the last chirp of the microwave announcing the end of its program. In other words, I go and get my dinner at exactly the right SECOND!

Even I am amazed.

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