is that a time bomb in your pocket?

It was back to normal today.  I managed to get a sufficient amount of sleep last night, and dashed out of the bed this morning with a spring in my step.  Or at least I got up without a grumble and got straight into the shower. It was another busy day at work.  I had stacked up appointments added to a full schedule of training classes, and there is never enough time in a day for everything I need to do. 

I was full of energy…running full steam ahead…until midday.  That was when my steam finally ran out.  It was coincidentally right around the time I was stuck in my office doing a three hour learning module on my computer. 

After the umpteenth slow motion computer simulation, I was starting to drift.  I had given up caffeine so a nice cold diet Coke was not an option.  There was no choice but to suck it up and get through the program as fast as possible.  I had to pay attention—there was an assessment at the end.

I rested my elbow on my desk and propped my head up by leaning into my hand—the way one does when pouring over mind-numbing materials in an online format. 

It wasn’t more than a minute before I realized that I was hearing a strange clicking sound.  I sat up straight and the sound disappeared.  I didn’t think much of it until I leaned my head against my hand again and the clicking started up again.  It seemed to be coming from inside my head. 

I pressed my hand against my head and the clicking got louder. I sat up straight again and the sound stopped.  I rested my hand on the side of my head and the sound was back.  I could feel a panic attack coming on.  There was something very wrong with me.  My brain was making a clicking noise when I pressed on my head, and it was now more than a week since I’d hit my head on the car door.  I was certain that this meant I had truly done it—I’d cracked my skull and when I put any pressure on it, it would crack wide open.  This was bad.  I tried cupping my hand against my ear without more than a whisper of pressure and I could still hear the clicking. 

I jolt of anxiety coursed through me. 

I got out of my chair and I was going to march straight out of my office to inform the branch manager that I was heading to the hospital.  Or maybe I would have them call me an ambulance.  After all, should a woman whose skull was cracking from the inside out even get behind the wheel of a car?  My brain was a ticking time bomb and I was…

As I reached for the door handle I stopped cold.  I lifted my hand—the one that had been the resting place for my weary head just a minute ago—and I looked at it. 

I turned around and sat in my chair. 

Thankfully I hadn’t made it out of my office.  Thankfully I hadn’t gone out to tell everyone I was minutes away from disintegrating into bone dust and brains.  My skull wasn’t clicking.  My head wasn’t coming apart.  My brains weren’t minutes away from falling out.

I was wearing a watch.  A new watch.  And it was ticking.

Do these things ever happen to anyone but me?

My husband told me I should absolutely not admit to anyone that this happened.  I disagree.  I think it is a very important public service announcement.  It should be on the packaging for anyone who purchases a new watch. 

“Enclosed watch may emit a ticking noise that is faintly perceptible when placed in the vicinity of the ear.  This is normal.  Do not panic.  Watches do this.”

I would have benefitted from that warning. 

Until the next time…I’ll be leaving my watch on the bedside table!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on April 8, 2010 .