Why Don't We All Just Get Up And Go To Bed When The Sun Does

It's getting to be that time of year again. No, not the time where you are allowed to gorge yourself silly on far too much sweet and unhealthy food while watching as much football as you can possibly stand. This is America - you can do that any time you want. It's time to set your clocks back. Hopefully you remember to do that, or at least account for it before you were the first person at church or in the parking lot of the mall all by yourself on Sunday morning.

Maybe you've noticed and maybe you haven't, but with today's technology, it's getting harder and harder to accomplish simple tasks like changing everything in your house by one hour. In days gone by, all a person had to do was simply set all the clocks back or forward one hour before going to bed on Saturday night and set all alarms for Sunday accordingly. This doesn't happen quite so easily anymore.

In our abode, we have several different types of time telling devices of differing levels of intelligence or stupidity. There also seems to be a strong correlation between the supposed intelligence of any given device and the ability of said device to be used in a straightforward and obvious type of manner.

We have an alarm clock in our bedroom that has two alarms. It can operate each alarm independently and also can tell if it is a weekday or weekend and operate the alarms according your preference. It also sets itself to the correct time and date if you so wish. It does not make coffee. If I drank coffee, this would probably upset me. Instead of feeling any fiery wrath about the coffee, I choose to display my apathy by doing my best to ignore the alarm whenever it attempts to disturb me in the morning. Rhiannon isn't quite so apathetic as she is vengeful before the sun rises - rather than disregarding the offender, she resorts to physical violence. As long as the violence isn't directed at me, I stay out of her way. (Also, if the violence is directed at me, I do my best to get out of the way. Some people are not "morning" people.)

Since the alarm clock will set itself, it does not require any human interaction either Saturday evening or Sunday morning. The same rules apply for our computer clocks, cell phones, and VCR. Everything changes automatically while we sleep. Everything else in the house needs to be manually set. Since we don't have to change our phones or alarm clock, we don't really hold a clock changing party to change everything all at once. This leads to the intriguing and frustrating situation of seeing one clock that is correct and one clock that is an hour off at the same time. It also leads to a mental double shift being easily achieved.

Case Example: After looking at the wall clock in our living room, I knew the time was around half past the hour. As with many situations when accuracy isn't really important, I just saw the big hand point down and the little hand hanging out off to the left somewhere. Roughly nine or ten thirty, but the hour was wrong anyway, so it wasn't really worth thinking about. Five minutes later, when I glanced at the VCR clock, in nice digital number it said the time was 9:35. (Yes, I read the numbers; the VCR does not actually speak to me – thank you Mr. Literal for ruining it for everyone.)

But I didn’t change the VCR clock, so it was still wrong to, so it must have been 8:35 after the time change. Except, the VCR changed itself without ever asking my permission. What’s next? Soon, the toaster will demand a hand knitted winter jacket in exchange for not horribly burning food item put into it. These household appliances and electronic devices – you have to be firm or they will take you for everything your worth. Luckily, as stated above, Rhiannon has a firm hand and a quick temper for that sort of thing. Plus, neither one of us knows how to knit, so we would be in a bit of a predicament there.

Anyway, the whole time change fiasco frustrates me enough that I usually leave my car clock on the old time until about two weeks before it is time to change it the other way again. Really, on a twenty-minute drive to work, the minutes matter most. If I’m off by a whole hour, I have bigger things to worry about.

Technology making your life easier. Where would we be without it? I’m considering putting a sundial up and just going by that. It should be a great reason to be late when it is cloudy.