He can’t look at his clock. It has a prominent position in his apartment, just below a skylight. It’s in clear view when he enters the room and when he sits on his couch, it’s right in front of him. He never looks at it.
That’s not quite true. As a battery operated clock, he does change the batteries, occasionally and then, twice a year, he puts the clock forward and back, one hour, for the summer and winter time adjustments.
His relationship with the clock wasn’t always so strained. It was a Mickey Mouse clock, official Disney Quartz ware, with Mickey, in his customary red shorts and white gloves, smiling, four fingered left hand aloft, in a sort of ‘voila’ or showman-like ‘hey’ gesture, left foot swinging, as if dancing. The right leg dangled, below the face of the clock and that was the feature he always loved.
It was thrown in as a bonus payment for a p.r. job he did for a small gallery. The curator told him she was putting on a Disney exhibition but she was overwhelmed by the 100 plus pages of public relations’ guidelines given to her by the Disney organization. She asked him to write a press release and he obliged by compressing the Disney guidelines into five pages with a one page press release for her exhibition.
She sent those to the Disney HQ for approval and was surprised when they called her and said, not just ‘yes’ but asked, ‘who wrote the ten page guide book and can they use it?
She was so delighted she wanted to pay him extra but didn’t have any money so she told him he could have anything in her shop for less than £100 and he picked a ring he always loved. It was a Nepalese saddle ring with a beautiful, roughly polished red coral stone inlay. She was so happy with his choice – mostly because the rings were worth about a quarter of their retail value and she had them on sale or return – she gave him the Disney clock, too.
He was delighted. He loved the ring and wore it proudly, feeling it had picked him. He liked the clock, too, because he didn’t have one and a Mickey Mouse clock, he thought, was a cool clock to have if you never had a clock, before.
Two years later, when he was attending an exhibition of Dream paintings by a Nepalese artist in a well known city gallery, the artist picked him out from across the room and made a beeline for him and grasped his hand and said, ‘where did you get this ring?’ So he told her the story while the artist listened and rubbed the stone. He always felt he was right to think it was special, after that.
A couple of years later, a girlfriend of his, who loved to wear the ring, threw it out the window of their third floor apartment into the grounds of a Medieval church. He never found it and even today, twenty years later, when and if he does look at the Mickey Mouse clock, he wonders where the ring is and who’s wearing it?