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Sleeping with the frenemy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time was, a person slept near her alarm clock, an object tethered to the socket in the wall. At the very least, stopping it required the initial physical effort of rolling over, which is an excellent start to getting out of bed. A college try.

Now, we sleep with our alarm clocks. We cradle them, hold them close, finish the day staring into them. "I'll just spin through Pinterest one last time," we say, and two hours later we are repinning "25 ways to get Heinz 57 stains out of your jorts," unclear where we are or how we got there.

Then we drift softly to slumber.

The modern alarm clock is inside our "devices," along with the telephone, the internet, the camera, the calorie counter, the 5K trainer, the bank account, the MP3s, the game with the birds, the Groupons, the Urban Spoon, and the breakup letter to the therapist we suspect is overcharging but maybe that's just our chronic self-defeat speaking so we probably shouldn't send it.

My alarm of choice on the iPhone is "Marimba," reminiscent of a steel drum band you might find in Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style.

Jim, taking a more utilitarian approach to the matter, favored the one unceremoniously called "ALARM," the grade of foghorn that sounds when, say, white tigers are escaping an animal sanctuary. It's like...


It made me shoot up in a cold sweat convinced the house was burning down, trying to remember what exactly happens with backdraft but only able to picture scenes from Apollo 13.

"Perhaps there is another option," I suggested.

There are lots-o options, from "Crickets" (poor strategy for waking up) to "Doorbell" (only if the Chinese food is here, plz) to "Duck" (why?). He settled on "Sonar," which sounds like icicles falling through space and is rather pleasant.

Our alarms fire at different times each morning, creating a bush league iPhone symphony of "PLINK PLINK ZACK MORRIS PLINK" and "ZWEE ZWEE ICY COOL FRESH ZWEE."

The snooze button on the screen is red and easy to access, especially when it's right there on the pillow and I barely have to open an eye. Round about the sixth or seventh "ZWEE ZWEE MARIO LOPEZ" when things are getting weird, I make a real effort to wake up. That is done, of course, by looking at something in the Device of Broken Dreams. The first stop is usually Facebook, which is a usually a mistake.

That's when it gets tricky.

Looking at someone's sunrise Instagram is still not enough to rouse me. So while falling back asleep dreaming of the Horrors of the Leather Industry PSA someone on Facebook I haven't spoken to in 12 years Rickrolled me into clicking, "ZWEE VIKTOR PETRENKO" goes off again, only this time it's like.

By now, the phone has slid into the covers, lost between the comforter and the fitted sheet that buckles into pockets of robbery. I flap through the layers of cotton like a blind baby bat while the phone is all "PLINKY PLINKY I'M FROM HELL PLINKY I'M HERE TO KILL YOU PLINKY." I find the alarm clock, shaking, and stop it once and for all.

And then I'm up!

The way to solve all this is to relocate the iPhone to so I have to move the first time it goes off. Maybe to nearby table. I try that, but it's so portable that I usually end up staggering back to bed with it, and the whole shame spiral starts again.

Recently we took another spin through the alarm options and discovered you can set any song on your phone to wake you up. Jim set it to Girls by the Beastie Boys, thinking it was a cheerful summertime classic tune that would set a great tone for the day. Super choice. It was done.

Twenty minutes later, the song went off unexpectedly during Mad Men like "DO DOO DOO DING DA-DING-DING." and we started screaming bloody murder until it stopped.

The only appropriate iPhone alarm is Sabotage.


  1. So many laughing. My phone is so comfortable in the hand that I am capable of swiping the alarm off while still asleep. I wish they would change the alarm shut off function with regular updates without notification. My alarm screen is shameful. I have to set about seven of them, because of the sleeping shut-off. Lastly, never ever ever try to wake up to Skrillex. Not. Smart.

    1. LOLZ. This:

  2. Nooo! I refuse to have my alarm sound be a song. All for the fear that I will someday hear it years from now and/or out in the wild and hate it because of the many times I woke up resenting it/life.

  3. I wake up to a song and I've yet to start hating it. It's "Good Morning" and I must say, it's the most pleasant way to wake up.
    Here's the song: