Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?
March 8, 2020
The band Chicago sang me this question over and over in the ’70s, and I don’t recall ever answering it, as I happily sang along. It could’ve been because as I teenager, there was so much of it– an endless supply of time, it seemed. So I didn’t care.
But not now. No sir. Now I care. I need to know what time it is because the clock is ticking and I have things to get done.
I figure I’ve used up close to two-thirds of what would be a most generous time allotment if it all works out like I hope, so now this question is bothersome. I wish they’d quit asking. I’m sensitive about it. It’s making me feel rushed.
I do, however, have a definitive answer now.
Does anybody really know what time it is?
No! No they do not. And would you like me to tell you why that is?
THE TIME CHANGE. That’s it. The time change.
Why must we jack with perfectly good time?
Tick-tock, don’t change my clock chants all former cheerleaders in unison.
I know some people with staggeringly exceptional intelligence and many with only the average kind. Still, when it comes to this concept–which simply involves the addition or subtraction of ‘one”–none of them can answer without a pause and a head scratch and a conversation much like the one my husband and I have every six months.
ME: Honey are we going on Daylight Savings Time or are we going off it?
HIM: Well I don’t know. Let’s see…it’s spring forward, so that means we add an hour.
ME: I think we lose an hour.
HIM: Oh, right, right. We add an hour and lose an hour. So let’s do the math.
He knows I’m math deficient, so he does it.
HIM: So if we move ahead an hour, that means it’s eight o’clock now and will be nine o’clock at this time tomorrow.
ME: So it will be darker earlier? No wait…lighter later?
HIM: It will be lighter later. I think. It will be the lightness of eight o’clock at the time of nine o’clock. Yes. Lighter later.
We always mange to temporarily wrap our heads around it until it actually happens at midnight.
During a particular season of life, we had a standing Sunday morning Skype date with our Germans (a.k.a. our son, his wife and our little grandson who lived in Germany). Seven o’clock our time. Two o’clock in the afternoon their time. Sometime after midnight, though, I woke up wondering if they might call at six a.m. Or eight a.m.? I doubted they knew about our time change. I wondered if they also changed time. I should’ve done my research. Were they still seven hours ahead of us? Maybe now the difference is only six hours. Or is it eight?
Oh dear! In the dark of the night, situations seem much more dire than they actually are.
I wondered all of this at 3:30 (or was it 2:30?) in the morning. Don’t you see? My internal time clock was already rebelling against this cruel interruption of its rhythm. I reached for my phone to make sure it had changed automatically. I compared it to the battery operated clock in the kitchen–the only sane clock in the house. Of course the cell phone is in on the conspiracy and is always Johnny on the spot when it comes to stealing an hour from me. Suddenly I had dry mouth, so I gargled with some Crest Pro-Health, thinking clean mint freshness might stop my mind from playing Ring Around the Rosies so I could sleep until seven–previously known as six. Or whatever.
The Skype happened, my grandson was completely adorable, and turned out Germany was then only six hours ahead of us. And you know what? The Germans are actually the ones who started this whole mess. They started the time change. I know I should trust their gift of efficiency and lean into it, but still I’m a little ticked off at them since I need to be ticked off at someone.
I’m exactly thirteen hours and twenty-nine minutes into this new time. This morning I changed my watch–the real kind with hands and a ticking noise you can hear if you hold it up to your ear. Maybe today I won’t be an hour off. My car clock has yet to be reset, and if history repeats itself, it probably won’t be. I’ll adapt over time, and when someone else rides along with me I’ll get into the habit of saying, Oh hey, don’t mind my clock. It’s an hour off. And they’ll say, Oh, I was wondering…
My Uncle Ray became eccentric in his later years. A genius mathematician, he retired in the expansive, sparsely-populated Davis Mountains of far West Texas to watch the things going on in the sky through his telescope. He decided he would no longer participate in Daylight Savings Time and he quit it, just like that. When asked if he found it hard to not observe the change when everyone else around him did, he simply said, Not really, completely undaunted by the whole sordid mess. Teach me your ways, Ray.
So, I still don’t really know if we’re on or off Daylight Savings Time because it’s dark at seven in the morning when my husband and I walk. So it seems we gave away daylight where I use to have it. Which would mean we’re off it. However, my friend’s little ninety-two year old mother assures me we are now on it. She seems so sure of it, so I guess I’ll trust her.
So here we all are. Dragging butt for a few more days until we acclimate to the change. And in case you’re wondering exactly where your stolen hour and mine have gone, I have the answer for that as well.
A fellow named Jim has saved our time in a bottle somewhere, (probably in the Cloud) and come fall, he’ll give it all back.