• San Francisco, California

Like Clockwork

A clock arrived one day at our door. A special clock. But the mechanism inside had failed in some way. We checked the batteries, examined the little gears, everything looked fine. But no tick, no tock. The clock was busted.

After ten minutes trying to figure the dumb thing out, I left. But returning to the living room an hour later, there she was; C, surrounded by tiny gears and batteries and screw drivers. A video was screaming at her about how to repair clocks and she had the largest grin on her face I’ve ever seen.

She had fixed the tiny motor inside.


It’s one of many things I love about C.

She views the world as incomplete. Not in a cynical or mean way, but rather, well, she’s always fixing things, always improving them. There is work to be done! C is a great force, a little combustible engine of focus and care and love on the smallest of scales; she physically cannot sit still without fixing something nearby. And whilst a great wave of despair consumes me where I’m basically useless for days or weeks thereafter, C is always sat somewhere nearby, mending things.

Likewise, I’ve been known to brag about the slightest kindness (oh my god! I saved an old lady who got stuck in a BART door! I am a hero!), but days after the fact she’ll casually tell me that she spent an hour fixing her patient’s hair. Unknotting it, carefully unweaving it, so that this complete stranger who she’ll never see again can feel human in an inhuman place.

Constructing puzzles, repairing something in the house, building a small botanical garden, learning how to fix a typewriter. There is always something worthy of C’s attention, always something worthy of her fixing.