Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Jet Lag

I am often amazed at the concept of time. It’s a measurement when we tell someone “I’ll be there in five minutes.” It’s a reference point when we talk about something that happened in the past “I was 16 when I got my driver’s license, which was 17 years ago.” I remember joking with my field hockey coach in college, because I was late to practice and had to run a lap for every minute I was late, “Really Coach, time is all relative. I mean, whose watch is right? Mine says I am on time. What do you say we split the difference on the laps?”

We turned the clocks back on Sunday and daylight savings time is over for the year. It is 5:16 PM as I write this, and it is pitch dark outside. In a few weeks it will start to get dark at 4:30, even in the late 4:20’s.

It’s this time of year that Todd and I find ourselves more tired, as we are adjusting to the early darkness--kind of like we’ve flown into a time zone on the other side of the world, and we need to adjust to that. It amazes me to think that somewhere in the world right now the sun is rising and it is morning, and somewhere west of here the sun is setting right now too. All at the same time.

When I was a kid and my sister lived in Arizona I used to marvel at the idea that over the winter the Mountain Time zone was only 2 hours behind us in the Eastern Time zone; then in the summer she would be 3 hours behind because the Mountain Time zone doesn’t fall behind or spring forward. My mom would look at the clock and wonder if my sister was home from work yet so she could call her.

When I lived in Australia my junior year of college I arrived in Sydney in July. It was summer in the US, and winter in Australia. I shivered as I walked to the bus from the terminal, as I was wearing a rayon sundress and a jean jacket, yet when I got on my plane in LA, it was hot out, the peak of summertime.

It was morning in Sydney, and I had no idea what time my body thought it was. I had just spent 15 hours on a plane from Los Angeles to Sydney. I had 2 suitcases that weighed something like 80 pounds each. I arrived at my dorm, and of course my room was the furthest possible room from the front door, and the dumbwaiter in the building wasn’t working. I scoured the building for a clock, trying to figure out what time it was, as my watch was still set for Eastern Time. In the US.

I set my watch and called my parents, after figuring out how to maneuver Australian pay phones. “What time is it there?” my mom asked. We figured out that I was 14 hours ahead of her. It was still Saturday at home, but it was Sunday where I was. I joked with my mom that calling me would take a lot more calculation than it would to call my sister.

Then daylight savings time ended on the east coast, but started in Sydney. The clock at home turned an hour back, the watch on my wrist in Sydney turned an hour ahead. Now I had to calculate 16 hours behind to know what time it was at home, so that I wasn’t calling my parents in the middle of the night.

Right now in Sydney it’s 9 something in the morning. The Australians are just getting to work on what we consider tomorrow morning, while the Americans in the Eastern Time zone are going home from work on what the Australians consider last night. I think I just blew my own mind.

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7 Comments:

Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

I so did not need that confusing read at 4:48 pm, the day that I have a sleep-deprived hangover. lol

November 6, 2007 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Gypsy said...

I remember being so confused when we moved to AZ and they didn't do the whole daylight savings thing.

November 7, 2007 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I think it's ridiculous. I think that we should have turned the clock back half an hour and then been done with the whole thing for good.

November 7, 2007 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Beej said...

Kevin, it's funny you say that, b/c the time zones in Australia are like that. I was in Sydney, I had a friend, Dean the anarchist, who was in Adelaide. Dean was a HALF HOUR behind me.

If you went north from Adelaide into the Northern Territory, the time zone changed an hour too.

Perth, on the west coast, was 2 hours behind Syndey too. So, the central part of the country was either a half hour or an hour an a half behind, depending on whether you were in the southern or northe part of central Australia.

It was so strange.

November 7, 2007 at 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Slick said...

LOL...dadburn, I'm kinda of lost now.

I didn't know I needed to bring my scientific calculator with me! :)

November 7, 2007 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Sassy Momma said...

Ahhh that reminds me of when J was in Oman and would call my butt at off the wall horrible hours until I told him "You are only allowed to call me at 9pm or 6am your time." LOL

November 7, 2007 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Hell, Cece's only 3 hours difference and she can't get that straight. LOL!

And can I just complain about the fact that I get done working at 4 p.m. every day. I get my butt home, changed and out the door for my walk by 4:30 p.m. My walk takes me about an hour and by the time I'm rolling back home, it's dark already! Grrr.

November 11, 2007 at 11:53 PM  

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