The Beast Glatisant, or Questing Beast, was a mythological creature in King Arthur tales, with head and neck of a serpent, the body of a leopard, the haunches of a lion and the feet of a hart. Knights in the stories would take off hunting him when word came that he was terrorizing a village somewhere, and he was an allegorical symbol of either the dangers of lust or of Christ eaten alive by the 12 tribes of Israel; you can take your pick.
I thought of him the other day when I was trying to describe, on Facebook, something that I’m hunting for – A bedside alarm clock with some really specific features:
Bedside (not travel; i.e with cord, not batteries) alarm clock, atomic, with large am/pm display. I just want something really specific and can’t find it. This is one of those cases where I search forever for a specific combo of features, and I buy something just off of what I want, and 6 months later, what I really wanted comes out. Before you say ‘iPhone’ this is for an older family member with no computer. 🙂
I want the clock to be just like any bedside alarm clock that plugs in and lights up – but I want it to be an atomic alarm clock – self-setting. And I want the AM/PM display to be in actually letters and fairly large, so you can easily see whether it’s day or night.
Finding this specific combination of features is proving elusive. They make alarm clocks that aren’t self-setting; most atomic clocks aren’t meant to sit near your bed or have you slap the snooze button when you’re half awake.
While I was describing the odd hybrid device I wanted cobbled together the Questing Beast popped into my head (head and neck of a serpent, the body of a leopard…) And I realized I have this kind of quest fairly often.
A few years back, I was on the hunt for a very specific kind of wrist watch that I just couldn’t find: light-colored face, numbers not roman numerals, day and date display, and it also had to light up, but it couldn’t be a digital or sport watch. You’d think that wouldn’t be hard to find, but I spent 3 years looking for that exact combo. Most watches don’t actually have numbers on the face. Most watches with date display don’t light up. I finally found one from Timex. And soon after, that same combo became more available in stores. It just took time for it to come around.
Before that, I was hunting a summer bathroom. I wanted a light cotton bathrobe that wasn’t terry cloth or flannel, and that was actually long enough to cover my legs. They had short ones for women that I would look silly in. They have heavy flannel. But no simple, light cotton. Stephanie hunted in every store in the mall and finally ordered one she found online. The next year, they were in every store.
It seems like the year after we find that specific thing we want, it’s suddenly the new craze. We keep going after the same strange beast. It must really love us.