Q: Ace, tourists come here from all over the globe, and the 48 states, Hawaii and Alaska. Do you suppose there is enough intelligence for those that control/run the Downtown Mall to set the clock to the exact time? It’s been two years!—Father Time
A:Yeesh, that’s pretty harsh there, pops—no need to go insulting anyone’s intelligence. Ace assumes that you’re referring to the chronically wrong clock atop the kiosk in front of the Boxer Learning building on the Mall. Indeed, the clock was running 25 minutes fast when Ace checked on a recent afternoon. But there’s no need to get upset, especially since the woman who spends her entire day working with the tinkered timepiece, Dana Durham, isn’t.
Durham has rented the eight-sided structure—colloquially known as the Bargain Hut, but technically Dana’s Kiosk, she says—from the City’s Office of Economic Development since September. From it she dispenses brochures for City and County tourist attractions (part of the deal for renting it) as well as assorted knickknacks and snacks. She says she’s been trying to get the clock fixed almost as long as she’s rented the place.
“People ask all the time” if the clock is right, she says. “That’s why I keep my wristwatch handy, so I can tell them the right time.”
Durham explains that the clock is supposed to automatically reset every morning when she opens up the kiosk. It hasn’t quite worked out. She says she’s put in several calls to Aubrey Watts, director of the Economic Development Department, but the clock remains unfixed. That said, she gives Watts credit for helping her on several occasions, from getting rotted panels replaced to fixing a busted lock.
“Everything I’ve asked him to do he’s done,” she says. “I’m sure he’ll get right on this as soon as possible.”
When Ace called Watts, he echoed Durham’s sentiments—he’s on it right away. He explained that part of the hold up has been miscommunication over what City department is technically responsible for the kiosk’s upkeep. He says that the Department of Parks and Recreation has been alerted to the clock’s wonky nature and, with any luck, you’ll be able to set your watch to it soon.
As for it being two years since the clock’s been broken, Watts wasn’t sure it had been that long. But he did come up with one perq from the whole thing. “I bet a whole lot of people got extra-long lunch breaks out of it” being wrong, he says. Now that’s putting your time to good use.