We all know how horrifying that electronic buzzing is. But today I knew that I was the most horrified waker of all. I was ready to eat any type of electronic equipment, so long as it would cut me badly enough to prevent me from doing the work that I had to do. I was reminded of a song: ‘I got a lot of things to do, but I’m not gonna’. The electronic world had finally broken something inside of me, that fleshy chord that ran the length of my torso had finally ripped itself in half.
When I finally woke up it wasn’t because the electronic babble had stopped, but because my brother was punching me in the head. In my emotional flood I had forgotten that it was my turn to shut the alarm off.
See, we set the alarm everyday. We can’t not set the alarm. We refuse to forgo the alarm because to forgo the alarm is to allow time to slip away. And we simply can’t have that. But by rotating the duty of who has to turn the alarm off we are able to escape the grips of time one day at a time. We are able to have a day where we are only briefly interrupted. Our sleep ceases for a matter of moments. Then we remember it isn’t our day and we can ignore it, incorporate it into our dreams. I have become quite adept at this. Whatever I’m doing in my dreams, whether it be running, fighting, crying, flying, having sex, killing, whatever it may be, I’ll suddenly be doing it to the rhythm of the alarm clock. Sometimes this can even trigger a lucid dream for me. The buzzing enters my dream and I become a new man.
I wish I could say the same thing about the days when it is my turn. I wish I felt like a new man every time that alarm went off. But I don’t. I feel like the same man living in the same damn world. The world in which I am slave to an electronic device that I control. The world’s greatest zombie.
So we switch off. One day I turn off the alarm and we both go back to sleep. The next day he turns off the alarm and we go back to sleep. Today was my day. But something was different in my mind and body today. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t be okay with this alarm anymore. Even as my brothers fists continued to collide with my hair I couldn’t move. He knew that this moment had been approaching. We had talked about it. I told him. I said to him that I wouldn’t be able to do this much more. That for a time it freed me from the burden of time. It made me feel like I could do whatever I wanted, sleep however long I wanted, and that I didn’t have to worry about the sun or the world anymore. He agreed. He too felt drowned by the normalcy of our existence. These commonplace desires to live an efficient life.
My brother didn’t seem to be slowing down. He was going to keep hitting me. He was shouting about the contract, about the agreement, about the laws of man and the laws of time. I couldn’t do anything. In a matter of moments I knew that I would rather die at the blindly raging hands of my brother than face another day of turning off that alarm. A few weeks into this process of near perpetual sleep my brother expressed some concerns. Couldn’t this make us crazy, he asked? Not any crazier than this world beyond the alarm is already making me, I said.
We chose to live a life forgetting the alarm in an effort to defer that terrifying life beyond the alarm. I chose not to be compressed during this new round of space-time compression. Did my brother choose? Now that my death seemed obvious, it was clear that my brother did not really choose. He let me choose for him. Death would be for the best. This time won’t work for me anymore.