Monday, March 29, 2010

Daylight Savings Syndrome

I admit it, I have a clock problem. I know I’m a bit bi-polar when it comes to clocks and their maintenance. It is imperative that all of my daily clocks be accurate and run within seconds of each other. That’s my logical Jekyll side which values precision and hates being late, as it is one of the few things in life that I should be able to completely control. On the ‘Hyde’ side of my clock thoughts, I am a brazenly irresponsible, laissez-faire loving, certified tick-tock scoff-law.

It is not just Daylight Savings time, but any kind of time change function which haunts me. When the power goes out, our microwave clocks will simply flash dots and continually taunt me while I heat up a cup of tea. Our answering machine flashes ‘CL’ and is particularly irritating because I know I am not REALLY receiving messages at 3 o’clock in the morning – I am not that heavy of a sleeper.

I still have a wall and a desk clock in the office that will startle me once in awhile when I’m lost in thought and magically think, ”I’m an hour ahead of schedule”. Yes, these clocks may NOT have jumped forward appropriately for Spring. But they are off by EXACTLY 1 hour - to the second, so I hesitate to mess with them. Most recently, I got into my car to find I had well over an hour until my appointment. It was relaxing until I remembered that this was one of those EVIL clocks that required a manual and a PHD in car maintenance for updating. Why can’t clocks just be set once and never messed with again?

To help with my problem, my wife and family routinely will give me ‘bomb’ clocks (Oops – I mean ATOMIC) for gifts on special occasions. Those are the battery clocks that compare their time accuracy daily against that of a local radio station. Since the fundamental requirement for radio broadcasts is to be synchronized all across the nation, all radio stations receive their time standard from the nation’s official clock-vault in Washington D.C. It is the job of the U.S. Naval Observatory (linked here) to monitor and maintain some 45 atomic clocks - 33 Cesium based and a dozen state of the art Hydrogen masers, to ensure precise timing for the military, GPS array, and U.S. standard time applications. Hence if the USNO has done their job, then the radio stations will follow, and ultimately my clocks will too! Problem SOLVED!

So now you know how I’ve learned to deal with Daylight Savings Syndrome. It’s a burden that Jekyll and I have unfairly had to deal with our entire lives. In fact in time, we hope to raise community awareness of this horrible affliction through telethons or group sing-a-longs with uber-famous music celebrities. The only obstacle to my dream is I’m not sure if I’ll ever find the time, or more likely if those ‘Hollywood types’ will ever give me the ‘time of day’!

No comments:

Post a Comment