Click Click Click: My Metronome to the Last 20 Years

Written by Rose

I was 10 and laying on the hand-loomed wool rug at my grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania, its intricately-looped paisley and flower pattern on a grey background providing my first recollection of pointillism. My brother, getting up to spin the UHF dial on her television to tune in Gilligan’s Island.  Whirring past channels 3, 6, 10, then 17, 29… Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

I was 16 and sitting in the audience of my Dad’s choral concert, boom box on my lap.  Pressing Record just before each song began. Pressing Stop within the applause after each song. The boom box clicking on and off. In between Record and Stop, finding out I loved listening to my Dad’s Barbershop Quartet harmonies and enjoyed watching him enjoying himself as he sang. Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

I was 19 and standing alone. Swallowing hard, I gawked up at the station board at the Gare De Lyon in Paris, over 15 feet high and about 30 feet wide, as it dominoed through its update of gate numbers and arrival and departure times.  Somehow I missed the train station lesson in AP French!  Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

I was 29 and on safari on the Serengeti.  Dawn had just broken across the African sky, the jeep bounced and careened over the uneven ground, red dust in our wake, as my husband and I captured images of giraffes stretching up (even up on two legs for mere seconds) to reach the tender leaves at the top of a stand of trees, thousands of water buffalo surrounding our jeep and snorting, pawing the ground, grunting and giving us “the stare down”, a herd of elephants enjoying a morning “bath” at a small watering hold with a baby elephant playfully spraying the adults with trunkfuls of water and then loudly trumpeted at to settle down (clearly, the Momma Elephant hadn’t had her morning coffee yet!) Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

I was 40 and waking up in the ICU in Sherman Oaks, California.  Chest pain like an elephant sitting on my chest caused my husband to bring me to the hospital following his surprise birthday party. I don’t remember how I got here.  IVs, tubes, sticky-electrodes and an oxygen mask were connected to me. I’d soon find out that I’ve survived dozens of pulmonary emboli in both lungs when the cardiologist made his appearance. The privacy curtain around my bed was pushed aside, its metal ball bearings echoing loudly in my heavily-sedated brain as they slid against the metal curtain rod.  Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

I’m nearly 44 and I’m listening to our 9-year old daughter performing at an elementary school talent show.  She plays Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love on her black electric guitar, amp tamed to an appropriate volume.  I catch her big sister watching with a giant grin. All the Dads in the audience, previously lulled into light comas by piano, violin and vocal solos, are jolted from their reveries by our girl playing Eric Clapton.  Cameras flash and click as we and our friends capture the moment. Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.

It’s late at night as I hurriedly type this. My fingernails click on the keys of my laptop; the metronome to the last 20 years.

Sounds are such powerful memory-markers. Click, click, click-ck, ck, ck, ck.


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