Column: It’s madness

Published 5:40 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Madness has struck again. We are being forced to live in an alternate dimension until next fall. It has been over a week since daylight saving time went into effect and I’m still suffering from what feels like jet lag, even though my feet never left the ground.

I had a 10 o’clock meeting the day after the time sprung forward. In a slumbering stupor, I sat through the meeting, reminding myself just a day earlier it would have been 9 o’clock and I would have been enjoying a second or maybe third cup of coffee before beginning the day in earnest.

Making matters worse, only two days later my birthday followed the time change. Somehow it felt as if I had been cheated. An entire hour had disappeared, an hour taken away from my special day. When I mentioned my contempt of losing the hour to a friend, he assured me I would get it back in November. Why bother, I thought. That’s the equivalent of getting a late gift with a note saying I’m sorry I missed your birthday, but I look forward to celebrating with you next year.

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Since I don’t wear a watch anymore, I don’t need to remember to change the time on the dial and most modern devices automatically change time. My computer keeps up, as does my phone and streaming player, but not my “not-so-smart” TV. After struggling through three menus, I finally reached the option to turn daylight saving time on with a feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge my TV display would now list the programs in their proper time slot. Now it was on to the kitchen.

The clocks on the stove and the microwave were still residing in the past. The stove was easy, push a button touch an arrow and voila, fixed. Only the microwave clock remained. I confidently pressed the pad marked clock, the numbers flashed, I adjusted the time but wait a minute – there were flashing symbols. After retrieving my glasses, I saw I needed to select a.m. or p.m. After a little confusion, I pushed the proper prompt. Then I realized the clock on the stove and microwave display had a fifteen second difference. My OCD kicked in and I wasted the next six minutes syncing the two clocks. The clocks in the cars would have to wait; I called time out.

Why does a microwave clock need the a.m. and p.m. function anyway? If you are in pajamas and the display says 7:00 and you’re nuking pancakes, the odds are it’s morning and if you’re fully dressed and heating a frozen lasagna while the microwave clock reads 7:00, it’s a safe bet it’s evening.  Of course, the solution would be to adopt the 24 hour clock.

If the 24 hour clock became the standard, we would adapt, but if you’re more comfortable with the ante meridiem/post meridiem clock, it’s fairly simple to convert. Add or subtract by 12. Four p.m. becomes 16:00 by adding 12 and subtracting 12 from 16:00 turns it back into 4 p.m. Or you could ask Cortana, Alexa or Siri. My Siri is set to a female voice with a British accent. Although I find British Siri sexy and pleasing, the voice can sound a bit condescending as Siri declares 4 p.m. is 16:00.  Siri always stops short of saying you could have just added 12.

I once rode an elevator with a synthetic voice reminiscent of Lauren Bacall when she turned to Bogart in the Movie “To Have and Have Not” and said, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” When I remarked to a hotel manager the voice became irritating after a few days of listening to it count off the floors and reminded passengers to watch their step, the manager was so visibly shaken I thought he might plan something diabolical to get even. Perhaps add 15 or 20 percent to my bill for shattering his AI induced fantasy. But who am I to judge. I carry Siri with the pleasing and often condescending voice in my inside jacket pocket close to my heart.

We are all mad in some ways, but this self-imposed time warp called daylight saving time makes no sense at all. Less than half of the 195 countries worldwide use daylight saving time. In this country, Arizona and Hawaii don’t impose this biorhythmic wrecking ball on their citizens. Count me with the growing number who are saying “enough.” We might not agree if it should be daylight or standard time, but more of us are screaming to stop this March Madness and pick one or the other.