Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rest In Peace, Old Friend!

Do you have an old, outdated thing in your house that coulda and shoulda been replaced years ago, but that you just can't bear to part with? I do... or rather, I did... until last night.

Last night, my trusty 24-year-old General Electric clock radio/cassette player suffered a life-threatening injury. I went to change the dial and found that, while the knob still turned, the dial did not move with it. Now, the AM band is set to nothing, and the FM band is set to a low-watt Latino station in Silver Spring that I don't think even broadcasts at night. I am going to pull out a screwdriver and see if I can perform some kind of miracle surgery (kind of akin to opening the hood of your car when it's dead even though you know damn well you can't fix anything under there), but otherwise, I think I'm going to have to say goodbye to the old gal and get me a 21st century model.

You can't possibly understand how this upsets me. I bought this big clunky radio at Christmas time, 1983, with a W. Bell gift certificate that I had received as a gift from WMAL. I was a receptionist at the time, and the station had gotten a ton of gift certificates as trade, so everybody got one as a holiday bonus. How many of you can remember where and when you bought YOU last clock radio?

This device was truly state-of-the-art.... a wood-grain plastic cabinet surrounding an LED clock with a solid state cassette player to boot! I woke up to that clock for my entire career, through literally thousands of 2 or 3 am wakeup calls... My hands became so familiar with the controls that I learned to set the time and the alarm without even looking at it.... a significant feature when you work the hours I work! In addition, the wide, flat top of the clock radio gave me plenty of room on which to lay my watch and glasses every night. We grew very comfortable together.

Now I face the hard task of finding a replacement. I'm sure today's models have all sorts of attractive features, but none of them will have the same feel as the old clock. Learning how to set it will be a chore. Feeling for it in the middle of the night will take a long time to get used to. Sure, I could try waking up to the alarm or the cassette player instead of the radio, but I have always found alarms to be too jarring, and honestly, the sound of the cassette player was never that good even when the clock was brand new.

No, I think I'll have to give the old gal a decent burial and find a new model - one that can play the AM band.

I wonder if they still make those!

1 comment:

Deb said...

Oh, so sad about your clocky friend. I can relate. I get sad when things like this end up no longer working - even when they are held together with scotch tape and chewing gum.