Monday, March 10, 2008

Dallying with Dali

The clocks moved one hour ahead this past weekend, because of the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Spring forward, fall back. That's how I remember which way to turn the clocks. When fall come back again, all too soon, back go the clocks to our Eastern Standard Time setting. Pretty straight forward, no?

Not in my home. In the spring and fall of every year, I spend a few days trying to figure out what time it really is. In my world, setting all the clocks in the house to within a millisecond or two of the official Atomic Time would appear to make sense. Since my wife sets all the clocks, however, we do things her way.

No two clocks in the house are set at the same time. Some display something close to the real time, others don't. Some clocks are off by ten minutes or more. My wife likes to be on time, so having clocks display a time that is later than it really is helps her leave early and arrive everywhere on time. Personally, I would just leave ten minutes early, but that is just me.

My wife's idiosyncrasy is largely harmless. After a few days of trying to figure out which clocks are two, seven or ten minutes fast, I get the hang of it and life goes on.

We all have our peccadilloes, some harmless, some perhaps not so. Why do we humans need to try and fool ourselves about things? Why do we need so many coping mechanisms to survive? Why do we have superstitions? Why do we behave in ways guaranteed to be counter-productive or even harmless to ourselves?

I don't know.

I think I've run out of time to write right now, but I'm not sure. Does anyone have a watch, in particular a time piece with the correct time?

19 comments:

  1. All my clocks are ten minutes ahead, as well. ;)

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  2. my sense of time is never perfect...I am always ten minutes late so I set my clocks ahead and am never sure exactly what the time is. I love your illustration. Time is fluid...it really is. I love the idea of the physics of time.

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  3. Aha! Two women reply and both use the same approach. Is this a female thing? I don't know of any men who do this, but that may be because I don't know any. :)

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  4. I am very resentful when people are late. To me, it's the heighth of selfishness to expect others to wait for you. Of course, no one can help the occasional tardy mishap, but a dear friend of mine is ALWAYS late, and it's so frustrating. Why is her time more important than mine as I wait for her?

    But, as a woman? Setting the clocks ten minutes earlier than the actual time? Are you kidding me? I live under enough illusions as it is! :)

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  5. In Panama, Belleza, you would be as frustrated as I often am when I am there. No-one is ever on time for anything -- lawyers, accountants, clients, suppliers, whoever. I, on the other hand, am always a few minutes early. Like you, I respect others' time and would really appreciate it if they respected mine. I do like my clocks to show the correct time, though.

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  6. I hate daylight savings time adjustments. In a non-agrarian society, they seem pointless to me, and disruptive.

    I sort of do as your wife does. I don't know why I use that as a coping mechanism, but it works for me. Setting my alarm clock as 20 minutes later than the actual time helps light a fire under me in the mornings unlike anything else. Oh crap! I'm gonna be late! Also, I have to have my alarm clock across the room, or I'd hit the snooze button about 50 times every morning. Don't laugh - this has actually happened. I've also slept through 1+ hours of the alarm going off.

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  7. My wife also likes th bedroom clock set 7 minutes fast. I do not understand the logic since you know the clock is wrong. Why not just be ON TIME?

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  8. So... am I right? It's a female thing. I don't know a single male who uses this as a way to cope. And phlegmfatale... I agree, daylight savings time makes no sense to me either.

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  9. Sieg -- sorry to hear about your uncle. I've never said a word here, but I've been reading your blog for months. Enjoy your point of view immensely.

    I learned of boquetecocktails.com from you, and I've also had my yucks from Pete. I see there's a new and troubling development down there. I'm known as Fraydoh or Fredo down thataway, not because I'm Spanish (I'm a German, Scottish, Choctaw Indian mutt) but because the name nickname Fredo got hung on me 40 years back). Good excuse for another trip to Panama?

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  10. Hi Fredo! Welcome here. The situation at Cocktails is complicated. We have lawyers and others working on the situation but it doesn't look promising. It is a situation that probably could have been avoided, but we'll have to see how things unfold. Life is full of little ups and downs; that is something that will never change.

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  11. Sieg, I concur ... a largely female inclination. Queen Victoria was infamous for this regimen as well.
    I inherited it from my mother and it left Mark pondering why an otherwise rational and intelligent person would indulge in such self-delusion.
    The answer for me? Move to the middle of nowhere and abandon clocks. The sun in its seasons does a reasonable enough job now. And it feels great.

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  12. My God-parents gave me an atomic clock in 2002 that I have set to GMT. It is the only one in the house I consider accurate, as I have to do the stupid, asinine, idiotic DST thing as well.
    Since most of the free world has bought into this lie due to a bet made by Senators Hawley and Smoot in 1926 (the same two socialists whose tariff bill sent America into The Great Depression) I wonder if there is really any benefit to it, beyond CEOnistas getting to spend an extra hour on the golf course? Probably not.

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  13. Lin: your solution seems to me to be eminently sensible. It sounds more and more tempting with each advancing year.

    Ted: I would celebrate the removal of DST gladly. I mean if people wish to get up an hour earlier why not simply do so and leave the rest of us out of it? The benefits of standardization are overblown, in my opinion.

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  14. Thanks Bellezza; and the same to you and to everyone else 'out there.' I will be back writing (and reading others' blogs) soon.

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  15. I usually have clocks set at least ten to twelve minutes FAST.. IT'S always a sorce of comfort for my kids to get in my car..en route to work..and say.."this is ten minutes fast right, we have time to go through a Tim's"..:)

    I def think this is a female thing..and a rather complicated one at that..like the rest of our "make up".

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  16. Anonymous... any excuse for a stop at Tim Horton's, right?

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  17. My husband has always been the one to set the clock ahead a couple of minutes. It is mildly annoying to have to calculate the actual time. Also when I ask him when we have to leave he will subtract five to ten minute from the actual time, figuring I will be late otherwise.

    A recent study has shown that DST's original intent of saving electricity is a failure. So, DST serves no purpose whatsoever, except to irritate!

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  18. Hmmm, luckyzmom, your husband appears to be odd man out with the turning the clock ahead thing. I do know, however, that among my acquaintances at least, the men almost always wait (and wait and wait, sometimes) for their wifes to get ready when they want to go somewhere, even to the supermarket. My wife is usually on time but likes to leave at the last possible moment.

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