What Time Is It, Anyway?

Source: Wikipedia

“Florida Legislature OKs year-round daylight saving time…”

-Herald-Tribune, March 6, 2018

It seemed like a good idea at the time. We moved the clocks up an hour and then just left them there. Most people forgot about it until November and there was a decision that since it worked so well we should fall forward and no one lost any sleep over it. Well, technically we all lost an hour of sleep, but nobody was counting at that point. Then the next spring came around and we all looked at each other and said, okay, let’s do this again, and there was another hour. And we did it again in the fall. Then someone suggested we “overwinter” and everybody was okay with this since it meant we could get through the holidays faster. Spring came earlier than usual that year and then someone said that as long as we were “overwintering” maybe we should also “undersummer” and figuring out what that meant took care of a few more hours.

We can’t say exactly when the idea to go to metric time got started, but it wasn’t an easy transition. No one could figure out why the Egyptians and Chinese decided days should be divided into twenty-four hours, but some argued that we’d been doing it for so long it didn’t make sense to change. Others said that it was confusing and that we should have scrapped it long ago. Finally each side was given one week, or ten days, to prepare and an hour, or one hundred minutes, to make their case. Even now some people believe the metric side won because they made their case I only seventy-five centiminutes so we could all leave early.

All this would have created a lot of work for clockmakers if we hadn’t already digitized everything.

Everybody liked that the addition of three extra days to every week meant a longer weekend, but adjusting the calendars was still controversial. Corporate sponsors suggested  additional names for days of the week, but instead there was some compromise and nod to tradition. In English we added Fimmday between Thursday and Friday, Shaniday between Saturday and Sunday, and Hermsday between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Proposals to get rid of Monday entirely were rejected.

Once this was done it was easy to knock out two months. Since August is usually the hottest month some people suggested getting rid of it could slow down global warming. Ultimately though everybody agreed there was no need for March and September, for reasons no one can remember.

Well, that about wraps up this brief history of lost time. Since it’s now midnight let’s go get some lunch.

 

8 Comments

  1. Jay

    We have struggled so much – the worst is to have a time change when you’re already in a different time zone. So now we’re checking phones and watches and laptops and can’t be sure which are correct.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s got to be pretty frustrating. I thought smartphones updated automatically–in fact I’ve been able to spot the exact moment we cross time zones, although not while driving.

      Reply
  2. Red

    Only the western world thinks time can be controlled. Do like me: Move to Asia and avoid the whole DST conundrum!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The funny thing is the Chinese came up with the twelve-part day about the same time the Sumerians did–more or less, I think, since all time is relative. Moving to Asia would have other advantages too. If you’re closer to the equator then time moves a little more slowly than it does at the poles–again, because time is relative.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    Happy Fimmday, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      A very happy Hermsday to you too, a day that is always mercurial.

      Reply
  4. mydangblog

    I hate Daylight Savings Time. It’s an anachronism that benefits no one anymore. Also, can I have extra Saturday mornings? It’s the only time I get to sleep in.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      We could all use extra Saturday mornings. The best ones are when I wake up bright and ready to face the day and jump out of bed at the crack of noon. I really do think we’d benefit from adding Hermsday to the calendar. It could be an extra Saturday and would be the most mercurial of days.

      Reply

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