Welcome to MEXICO

By Victoria Schmidt

El Diablo—The Clock from Hell


While moving to Mexico, I packed our alarm clock. The thought of the necessity of an alarm clock in our Mexico paradise seemed incongruous. Yet it is used now more than ever. Recently, that trusty alarm clock died. It no longer projected a beam of light towards the ceiling so we could see the time during the night. It no longer gave the correct time…it constantly flashed “9:02.”

No problem! We have Wal-Mart. It was such a difficult decision! After searching the entire section of time devices, examining brand names, functions, and price-- our decision made we purchased the only alarm clock on the shelf. Solo Uno. Sadly it isn’t a projection clock. So when my husband visited the USA, I asked him to pick one up for me. A simple one would do for me, but when he shops for me, he always makes sure I get the “best.” So he came home with a projection alarm clock with “everything,” including an 18-page manual.

The clock face is well-lit. It displays the time in 12 or 24-hour settings, has two alarm functions, indicates temperature indoors and outdoors, a back-up battery system, radio, sound machine, nap features and a timer. Really: all I wanted was an alarm clock I can see at night.

But this clock is possessed. Setting up the clock was a major test of patience. (It was easier hacking my DVD player to turn it into a multi-zone.) As I attempted to set the date, there was the sound of a huge thunder crash; followed by cricket song. It took forever to find the switch to shut off the sound. The alarm function seems to have a mind of its own. Finally I set the time and decided to rest. 15 minutes later there was another loud crash of thunder. I slapped the top of the clock, and there was silence…until five minutes later. Somehow I’d activated the power nap sequence with thunder wake-up.

I had further proof of its demonic ways when I returned home and found the clock indicating the wrong time. My maid had dusted and accidently changed the time. How could she have done that with a swipe of a dust cloth when it took me two hands, ten fingers and a manual? The alarm rang at 3:00 a.m. that morning! I’d gone from mild disgust to major frustration.

The frustration grew when I realized that they had designed an alarm clock that’s impossible to disengage. This alarm cannot be “unset.” Oh, you can only set it for different times. But it goes off every 24 hours. It doesn’t have an “off ” setting for the alarms! Really! I read the manual.

Since I really didn’t want el Diablo going off every day, and changing the times takes two hands and a slide rule (unless you are a maid) I unplugged the clock, pulled out the back-up battery and then re-set the clock again – only this time, no alarms!

But at least there’s projection. Right?? Wrong! El Diablo is designed with buttons on the top, both sides, front, back and under the clock. It’s impossible to touch the clock without touching a button. To turn on the projection, I push a recessed button on the back. Once on, the tiny little device projects a microscopic beam towards the ceiling, where the illegible digits blend together and only Superman could read it.

So el Diablo, alarm clock from hell, sits at our bedside while I utilize “solo uno” the Wal-Mart clock instead, leaving my husband to ask: “Do we have to use two clocks?”

 

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