There is much sadness here this morning at Chez DragonTurtle. Hard on the heels of the death of Patrick Swayze, I awoke to find that my beloved Lucky Travel Clock, companion of my anthropological fieldwork and wanderings around Ireland and Great Britain, has lost two critical sections of the LCD display, which means that right now (8AM) the clock reads “E:OO.” Rather than allow it to shamble on so disabled, I think it is time for the Lucky Travel Clock to be retired.

I thought that the Lucky Travel Clock would be with me for life. This was a foolish expectation, given that I bought it for $5.00 at some airport transit shop while on the way to my first field trip to Geneva, Switzerland. But it weathered over a dozen trips aboard, over a hundred tumbles to the ground, and being sat on dozens of times with no problems. I dropped it in the snow once and didn’t realize it for twenty minutes, had to go back and find it as dusk fell in a creepy Swiss wood. I changed the batteries twice in twelve years. It was a survivor. It’s called the Lucky Travel Clock because it’s lucky, not because it bring luck to me, although I have found its survivability comforting and auspicious.

It has been a valued companion and a relic of my graduate school years. There are many fond memories associated with the Lucky Travel Clock. Sleeping in crowded hostel rooms, perched next to a hundred-year-old clock in a fine Irish hotel, serving as a light in a corridor on the way to the foyer bathroom. . . it has been a tool with many uses. It has weathered flatulent Peruvians, flooded tents, and several cats who thought that it was an fantastic toy. It wears its many tiny scars proudly and has had a full life. I rarely invest objects with emotion, but the Lucky Travel Clock has brought me joy and familiarity in strange places and kept me on time for innumerable meetings. I give it all the praise it is due, because it not only functioned well for quite a long time, it became a touchstone that boosted my confidence and readiness to face each day’s challenges. It did not always succeed, but somehow starting every day by clicking the alarm OFF was a ritual that brought surety to the first few moments of each day.

Go in peace, old friend.

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