It started in, I think, grade 6. Mrs. Rannard, my consultant teacher person from the Department of Education, told me that there was such a thing as a braille kitchen timer. So she arranged to have me borrow one from CNIB (that's just CNIB, folks, not the CNIB, or the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, because that would be too easy.)
It was really cool! Dots and stuff, and it went ding ding ding when the timer reached zero, as timers are wont to do.
I'd had the timer for less than a week. It was sitting on my desk in school. I used it in gym class to time myself. Timing myself with a timer, now there's a concept!
So anyway, there the thing was, on my desk. I picked up a book. A sliding sound, a thud combined with a ding, and the timer was now on the floor, inoperative.
Mrs. Rannard came back a few weeks later with a replacement. Whew, saved. I put it on my desk, pick up a book .... slide, thud/ding, bleep. This last from Mrs. Rannard, who saw the whole thing. "Why Bruce," she didn't say. "How utterly amusing the way you've broken this timer too," she failed to add, neglecting to pat me on the shoulder in a friendly, it-could've-happened-to-anyone sort of way. And the worst part was, that was the day I went to stay a few days with her family, and her happy-go-lucky nature did not assert itself again until well into the two-hour car trip.
That was when I was eleven. No more timer experiences were to be had until I was 34, some two years ago. My roommate was always asking me to tell him when twnety minutes was up: either he wanted a twenty-minute nap on the couch, or something he was making in the oven took about twenty minutes to burn and he wanted just the right consistency of charcoal. I got tired of playing timer, especially since I had lost my watch and the only way I could get the time was to call the correct-time number.
So I marched downstairs at work one fine day, into the store, walked up to the guy behind the counter, and said, "Michael"--for that was his name--"Michael," I said, "do you have a talking kitchen timer?"
"I sure do," he said, or words to that effect. and soon I was walking away with this really cool kitchen timer that had all sorts of sounds you could have it make when the countdown went to zero (oddly, ding ding ding was not among them).
I gave the timer to my roommate. Now, having fallen once too often, already losing a battery case, the timer no longer works. Why can't kitchen timers and I just get along?