In the middle of Pacific Standard Time, I pose this question: Did you ever wonder what would happen if you simply decided not to comply with Daylight Saving(s) Time — just like Arizona does — and determined to run your life exclusively by Greenwich Mean Time? What if you told your girlfriend — or boyfriend — that you’d meet her at the restaurant at 19:15 hours GMT?
Now I’m not suggesting a mass insurrection, it’s just that more and more we’re aligned with a completely digital world, in particular where analog clocks (among other things) are becoming a novelty. A couple of years ago, Chrysler added a small analog clock to the dashboard of its 300 purely for aesthetic purposes. And on a recent reality television program, a young woman was asked what time it would be in digital parlance if she was told it was a quarter after five. With her brain smoking, she couldn’t say.
Digital watches are very much the prefered portable timepiece these days, with many analog styles fitted with a digital inset, just so you can really be sure what time it is.
So maybe if we lived with a 24-hour clock, things would be appreciably easier; those who chose to manipulate when eight o’clock is to occur could do so. Noon would be 1200 hours and midnight would be 2400 hours, negating the need for a.m. and p.m.
I’m thinking convenience here. Jet lag, for those who have experienced it, is a small nightmare, but even the time change from PST to PDT is significant: “fall back in the fall, spring forward in the spring.” (I seriously doubt that Ben Franklin had anything to do with that.) Generally speaking, it takes me at least a week to adjust in either direction, and to gain another hour of darkness with the onset of EST is to add more depressing time to the night.
How complicated can it get? A couple of weeks ago, Kris worked a flight to Dubai and back and it was a time-keeping wonder. Try this one on, even if you go to the Web site where you can find out what time it is in any part of the world, and locally at that.
She takes off from Los Angeles at 11:00 a.m. on, say, a Tuesday. The flight is scheduled to last for 14 hours at an average air speed of 550 mph (we’re not considering ground speed here). When should she arrive in Dubai?
Give up? I did, because among other things, I forgot to ask her before she left. Nor did it help by consulting that Web site.
Or what if she did an L.A. to Sydney, Australia run — which she has, and which entails some 17 hours in the air, plus crossing the International Date Line? I was never clear about that one either, especially when she arrived home the day before she departed Sydney.
If, however, we all lived by the 24-hour clock, or military clock as those in uniforms do — which means as the Brits do, beginning in the obscure town of Greenwich — we could immediately end the confusion. Plus, for God’s sake, we could dump this silly business of living in accord with the preferences of 19th century American Farmers! Then — you can see this is all self-directed — when Kris just happens to be in Vienna, or some other romantic place that I never get to go to, I would know exactly what time it was as she sat down to enjoy the local wiener schnitzel.
Just roughly, I’m calculating that she’d be doing that in the evening as I finished off my shredded wheat and a couple of bananas in the morning of the same day. Of course, that would require some culinary adjustments on her part: some breakfast.
On the other hand, of course, I could have all of this completely screwed up.