When the Ticking Echoed Off the Walls Into My Nerves


And, how are you my strange friends? Those of you in Canada and Pennsylvania and Texas, Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, England, Sweden, Ireland, Brazil, and Peru, according to the sitemeter, anyway. I know that most people are just looking for pictures, because those get clicked on most. And few of you spend more than a second or two, so I know you arrived by serendipity, and quickly moved on to the next image, the next thing you were looking for. However, I’m glad you stopped by. I’m glad there are people around the world who can possibly read what I write, or are just connected to me, however briefly. This was a dream I had as a teenager, that one day we all could connect with another all over the world, anytime, and talk, learn, or just be connected. At the time, I thought it would have to be in some sort of ethereal form, some kind of world consciousness. People thought that was a crazy idea. We are not there yet, and may never be, but it has been so incredible to see the world move along and develop such potential for instant communication and sharing of ideas. I hope we keep going until we are all connected, or at least, can be connected, if and whenever we like. A few of you actually read the things I write, because a few leave comments. That makes me smile. 

I remember visiting relatives when I was young. Often, I ended up waiting somewhere in a room, silently with my brother, or by myself. The clearest memory I have is listening to the quiet. I liked the quiet, sometimes. I liked being alone, sometimes. I have three brothers and three sisters, and many, many cousins, and there were so many occasions back then for all of us to be together. It was great, but I often longed for peace and quiet, to just be alone. Sometimes I didn’t like it. It could get boring. Sitting in some relative’s house, I would always hear the clocks ticking, and then striking, echoing the hours off the dull walls. I liked the cuckoo in the old German clocks. The cuckoo was alright; it made me laugh to hear it. Only my grandmother had one of those, I think. The clocks in the other old houses we would visit always seemed to intone, sonorously and slowly. The paintings on the wall were dark and hard to see details in. The wallpaper was always dull, grey, or pale, and really boring. I don’t remember what age I sat in those houses. I remember sitting alone, quietly, trying to find unusual patterns in the wallpaper. I remember too, sometimes working on jigsaw puzzles, quietly, with just my brother John. I like being alone, but I like having other people around. It sounds contradictory, but that’s the way I am.

I like having people in the other room talking or sleeping, or playing games, even if I am by myself, reading, or thinking. I don’t know what it was about visiting those old houses. I think the adults would go off to talk, or to a funeral home, because that is what often got us to those houses that we rarely saw. Somebody was always dying, some great aunt, or other relative that I had never known. I hated those houses. I grew to hate the clocks striking hour after hour, perhaps because it was otherwise deathly quiet, and so boring I could almost have cried. Perhaps it was just the perceived feeling of abandonment that occurs to children.

Now, here I am again. By myself. It was lonely at first. I read a lot, and still do, but I also worked on jigsaw puzzles, wrote in this blog, or just sat and thought about Karen a lot, and about my ex-wife. It’s a good thing there isn’t one of those old ticking, chiming clocks because I’d have either smashed it into little bitty pieces or gone insane. I thought about this moment when I was very young. I thought about being old and living alone, in a quiet house with paintings sticking out of shadows, and no other sound but the clocks ticking, ticking, ticking. I was afraid of that. I never wanted that to ever happen.

Fortunately, I have radio and music and TV, and internet, and none of it matters for shit if you’re depressed, but what the hell, I can’t stay depressed for long. I like this little place I live in. The three rooms seemed huge at first, so empty, so quiet, so dead. It’s my place now. I look forward to coming home. The house is familiar, and comfortable, and the cats show up when they feel like it. I don’t regret not having other people here. I do like the quiet sometimes still. Near the farmlands and river and away from the busy streets, it is actually quiet here at times. The thick adobe walls and the well-insulated roof keep out most sounds.  Sometimes it is just like those childhood memories of being along, or feeling alone in some stranger’s house, waiting for something, but without the clocks ticking away. I can turn off all the electronics now, and sit quietly, and it is peaceful. That is what I missed during that marriage – peace and quiet. It was never peaceful with the TV on all the time, and the dragon wanting to tell me the gossip about her friends and family, often over and over. I guess that’s why I finally started looking forward to her vacations away. I loved the chance to sit quietly, or read, or do nothing at all. I liked working on the house too, but it became a constant thing, without break or end.

Even when the roof was complete, the addition needed more. Even if I had been able to complete the room I added, there were things that needed repair, painting, cleaning, nailing, digging, gathering, etc. It was just never going to end. I needed time alone. I didn’t want a divorce, or more living on my own. I just wanted time away, and whenever I needed it. I don’t think it was ever going to happen. Of course, now I have all the time in the world. It’s good. I’m not depressed anymore, much. It’s quiet and it doesn’t bother me. I should get one of those old clocks whose ticking echoes off the walls, just to see what that would be like.

I haven’t seen Karen for awhile. My ex never calls or writes. I read lots of email from strangers or union members and sometimes distant family. I will have breakfast with an old girlfriend on Saturday, in the coffeehouse across the street from here.   I had a Green Party meeting today after work, and more to come, soon. I have a union meeting after work tomorrow, and negotiations start next week for the next contract. Maya, my step-daughter, graduates in May. I look forward to seeing the ceremony, and going to her dad’s house for the party, even though my ex will be there. The dragon doesn’t bother me anymore, and I don’t even care if she has a date. She is very unimportant anymore. I still wish I could have Karen visit me sometime, or go with me to a movie or out to eat, but, well, that ain’t gonna happen, so I’m OK with that too.

I don’t know what it is I’m trying to say here, or why. It is nice to be connected to you all. Thanks.

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4 Responses to “When the Ticking Echoed Off the Walls Into My Nerves”

  1. WhiteWolf Says:

    At least you’re keeping yourself busy. I know I’m a stranger too, but I’m always open for someone new to talk, just so you know.

  2. O'Maolchathaigh Says:

    Cool. I appreciate that.

  3. LuLi Says:

    Australia signing in.. I’ve just come across your blog and I can relate to a lot of the themes. I’m sorry you did not get to go to Maya’s graduation, that must have been shattering for you. I hope things look up for you and wish you all the best =]
    LuLi

  4. O'Maolchathaigh Says:

    Thaks LuLi, it was certainly depressing not to be able to celebrate Maya’s graduation with her, especially when I think of myself as family, and I had already assumed I would be there with her.


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