From the title, you know I’m talking about in the bedroom here. And if you didn’t, now you do. I wonder if this delayed gratification is something we all struggle with, or bear, or pride ourselves on; or is it a result of being raised Catholic by a mother who likes to also remind me that she was a product of the Great Depression?
Whatever the reason, I seem to hold off on pleasing myself. I push back against those things that would make life a little more pleasant. I tolerate the way things are for longer than I really should, waiting to satisfy my own needs.
Time to get specific. Caution, there’s a bedroom visual below:
About four years ago I went out and bought myself a basic digital alarm clock. From the get-go this thing has given me grief. It has always had an extremely sensitive volume knob. What I mean by this is you look at the bloody thing and it changes volume, even when it’s off. Try touching it, the volume disappears entirely. I crank it up with no results until it suddenly screams, from where I then have to ease it down ever so gently, so as not to tick it off, to a volume that is listenable and allows me to drift off to sleep. It’s usually a good five-minute exercise each night.
This testy volume quirk was annoying enough on its own to have encouraged any normal person (and by normal I of course mean any non-Catholic with a non-depression-age mother) to send it off to Goodwill for some other repressed sucker to inherit, and invest another $20 in a new clock radio. I couldn’t do it. I went the suffering route, and then eased into my typical, full-blown, delayed gratification.
You see, about 8 months ago my relationship with the pissy clock intensified when the alarm function assigned itself to the buzzing option only. I like to wake up to music. For the last 8 months I’ve only been able to wake up to buzzing that gets progressively louder until I shut the damn thing off. It sucks and I hate it. I’ve hated it for 8 months. Here’s the kicker. Not only am I unable to switch the alarm from Satan’s early morning screech to glorious morning music, but I am unable to switch the alarm off all together. That’s right. I can stop the buzzing each morning, but I can never not have the alarm set. It will go off at some set time every day because I cannot get the little red alarm dot to go away. I cannot cancel it.
Still, I’m reluctant to part with it as it does function as a clock and a radio as advertised. My mother’s voice inside my head preaches “waste not, want not” (closely followed by “sex before marriage is unholy”), and I resist the other voice in my head that says “what the hell is wrong with you?”
Delayed gratification is what’s wrong with me. Maybe I’m holding out for the bigger reward. Maybe if I delay long enough I’ll be retirement age and not need an alarm clock at all. Yes, that’s it. I must be waiting to become a senior citizen and be free of the 9-5, at which point I will have beat my clock at its own game and joyfully dispose of it entirely. Brilliant. Thanks, Mom!