I dislike the "Possessed" column in the Sunday Style section of the NYT as much I revile the "Consumed" column in the Sunday Magazine. Must there be not one but two overt celebrations in the very same paper of having, accumulating, buying, owning, to say nothing of the myriad implied celebrations in a good chunk of the articles, plus the ads? Are we not more than this? At long last, are we not more?
However, Trev told me that a present I gave him for Christmas (which he picked out) has changed his life. It is this thing: the Hammacher Schlemmer Peaceful Progression Wake Up (not Alarm) Clock. It's about a foot high and looks like a robot servant from a 50s science fiction movie. It's even in black-and-white, except for the green display and the ladder of lights that discreetly come on, one at a time, a half hour before your wake-up time. If you're lucky, the first light wakes you up with a red-orange glow that is not unlike dawn. In our case the alarm sits next to a bunch of orange-red fake flowers that I can pretend is a cloud, so the whole effect is quite pleasant. At T minus 15 minutes, a sound begins to play. We chose the Zen music (the usual flutey stuff) because the cricket and bird sounds were those of terrified crickets and birds, and the ocean sound was a tsunami. At Wake Up Time, however, it's no more Mr. Zen Clock and the beeping that you know from every other alarm clock begins. This feature cannot be turned off, and you lie listening to the Zen music in increasing dread of the beeping. So you get up.
Trev says he sleeps better knowing that he'll be awakened in this relatively humane way. So consider this my Possessed and Consumed column. I do not go so far as to suggest that you order one of these clocks, which appears in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog on an airplane near you--alongside, I'm not kidding, a motorized cooler that you can ride.