Sunday, November 01, 2009

Time to Change the Time

It’s the most dreaded, hung over day of the year, aside – possibly – from New Year’s Day. What am I talking about? This year, in a cruel twist of fate, on the day after Halloween, with sugar rushes still pulsing through our veins, we awaken to discover we don’t know what time it is.

That’s because, while we turned back some of the clocks last night to mark the end of Daylight Savings Time, we never get them all. Even if the computer and the cell phone reset themselves, what about the clock in the car? The one in the microwave oven?

There’s always a nasty surprise awaiting us somewhere. If you’re like me, this goes on for days.
Many years ago, when I was growing up in Tennessee, we went onto DST for the first time. The next day, a huge thunderstorm hit Nashville. While my mother was in the supermarket, she heard another woman remark, “This is what comes of fooling with God’s time.”

There you have it. God said, “Let it be twelve o’clock!”

While visiting China last year, I was surprised to learn that the entire country consists of one vast time zone. Never mind when the sun is highest in the sky or when it sets. If it’s noon in Beijing, it’s noon everywhere.

Although we flew several hours into the interior to Shi’an, the ancient capital where you find the terra cotta warriors, I never noticed anything strange about the time. Of course, that might be because my then-91-year-old mother fell in the shower and broke her pelvis, and her assistant and I (we were attending a ceramics conference) spent most of the week arranging to get her airlifted home.

In case you’re wondering, my mother, now 92, has recovered and is back at work in her studio. You can learn more about her unusual ceramic sculptures on my Web site,

Also, while we’re on the subject of the time change, my younger son attends the University of Arizona in Tucson. Arizona doesn’t go on DST, so when we drove there from California two weekends ago, we didn’t have to advance our watches. Had we waited until next weekend, we’d have to shift ahead by one hour. Can’t figure it out? Me neither.

By the way, Hunter works as a research assistant at Biosphere 2, a self-contained environment originally built to replicate conditions in a space colony (see photo, upper right). Currently, it’s used for biology experiments. We enjoyed touring the facility, which you can learn more about at

Speaking of space, I think I’ve run out of it. And when it comes to time, the thing that really matters, of course, is what we do with it.


Linda Henderson said...

I kind of like getting an hour back. At least I remembered to fix my clocks last night.

nicolerko said...

Well guess who forgot to turn the clock back before going to bed. I sent the alarm for 8:30, but found out instead it was 7:30 when I got up. My internal clock has to get used to the time change because I can guarantee I will be up at 7:30 more than not this week.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

I actually woke up at my usual time, even though my body should have believed it was an hour earlier. Can I have adjusted so readily? Probably just a glitch.

PamStone said...

I admit that I do enjoy daylight savings time in the summer. More daylight hours after work.

But the good thing about changing back is that I tend to get more writing done on this time. More dark hours after the day job so I am not as tempted to get outside or go running around. And sleeping an hour later before the alarm and facing the day job, is always a good thing.