Wednesday, March 21, 2018

21/31: Hawaiian Alarm Clock

He starts around 3AM. A distant unfamiliar cry, overlaid with the sounds of the city beginning to wake up (tires whooshing, crosswalks counting down, engines rumbling). The incongruous mishmash of city sounds plus a noise I associate with rural countrysides: a rooster's cockle-doodle-doo.

He's consistent. One crow every minute, simultaneously triumphant and plaintive. I wonder what he's thinking of when he trumpets, whether he knows the sleep-rousing effects of his calls or if he simply likes the sound of his own voice.

Either way, he's effective. Inconsistent time zones plus unfamiliar beds means I'm up when he demands, rolling on my side and drifting in and out of the kind of sleep that comes when you're floating on the surface of slumber, the hazy in-between stage punctuated by a barnyard animal's brays.

I remove myself from bed eventually. It's now past seven, and I set off in search of food. As I cross the street, I see him. He struts around next to a scattering of picnic tables. No one seems to own him, but even if someone did, I have a feeling he'd answer to no one. We make eye contact. He lifts one clawed foot dramatically and sets it down as he parades across his domain. His tail feathers are a firework explosion behind him, quivering with his every step. I watch him, and I shake my head ruefully. The price of sleep seems irrelevant now in the face of this quirky, self-possessed bird.

As I walk away, I hear the Hawaiian alarm clock go off yet again. Island time indeed.


  1. Love the way you describe this bird! He definitely has an attitude and everyone must get in line with it. Maybe a nap on the beach will catch you up on the sleep he interfered with.

  2. What a great way to start the day; something so real instead of the usual I Phone pre-selected wake up sound or the one of five choices from a digital clock. Plus just the idea of waking up in Hawaii sounds pretty nice about right now.

  3. So if I had to pick waking up to a rooster in Hawaii or an alarm clock in the midwest, I now know where I stand. Thank you for this beautiful post in all its alliteration!

  4. "Hawaiian Alarm Clock" - I feel like this could be a song, though you would need a quirky band name to go along with it!

  5. Your writing skills continue to amaze me!! I could picture that old rooster and it reminded me of a “pet” rooster we had.

  6. Your writing skills continue to amaze me!! I could picture that old rooster and it reminded me of a “pet” rooster we had.