On Doing Away With Time Zones: 500 Words | Day 5

Welcome to Day 5 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more.  For more on that click here:  goinswriter.com

World_Time_Zones_Map

 

I’m really not good at math so Daylight Savings is messing me up both professionally and personally.  Let me explain.

Not only did I get jilted out of my golden hour of extra sleep yesterday AND depressed when the sun went down shortly after lunch

click here to read yesterdays post: “On Daylight Savings Time

NOW I am forced to do math for work.  I live and work, at least to some extent, on two sides of the world on any given day.  Much of my job is connecting with people in China.  I travel there at least twice a year but even when I am right here in America I stay connected.  I have good friends there. Many of my coworkers and even my bosses are there.  It is not uncommon for me to have several meetings in China a week.

Buck RogersThanks to Buck Rogers (who who was the brainchild behind Skypesee picture to the left) I am able to do that from the comfort of my home office.

For what I call the six “good months” of the year China and the Eastern part of America are exactly 12 time zones apart.  It’s beautiful.  There is no math involved.  If it is 12:00 here it is 12:00 there.  It’s just the other 12.  So all I need to do is look at the clock, then look outside.  If it is dark where I am, it is light there and vice versa.  So simple and just as it should be.

China has done it 100% right.  There is ONE time zone in the entire country.  That’s it.  One.

Even though it is roughly the same width (east to west) as the continental U.S. (which has four time zones in the same space) it is precisely the same time no matter where you are.  Brilliant.

As if it were not confusing enough for Americans who constantly need to ask, “which time zone are you in again?” we have also decided to switch it by one hour twice every year.  China on the other hand does not (in fact outside of North America, Europe and a sprinkling of other regions most of the world does not) .  So for the second (or “bad”) six months of the year we are 13 hours different . . . or if you go the other way . . . 11.  If it is 11:00 here it is 12:00 there and if it is 4 there . . . 3 here.  Either way when I look at my clock I know that we are one away after I mentally change the sun into the moon.

It is not a challenging equation I know.  Instead of X=X it is now X+1 = X+1.  However, I cannot communicate to you clearly enough how inept I am when it comes to matters of arithmetic as they intersect with real life and especially important meetings.

I have been late more than once.

Personally I feel that times zones are a mistake altogether.

 

I think it would be astronomically easier to simply adjust our lifestyles and put the entire planet on one single time zone.  It’s really just a matter of perspective.

So what if the sun comes up at 1am and you go to work at 2.  That’s only weird for a little bit.  At least when someone in New York calls someone in Las Vegas they don’t have to have this conversation.

“Which time zone is Vegas in again? — Pacific? — Hmm I thought you were Mountain — So that’s three hours or four hours different?  — Right . . . is that four hours forward or four hours backward? — Got it. so if it’s 10 here it’s 6 there right?  — Wait, or is it 2?  — Nope it’s 6 . . . Right?”

Considering the fact that many people, like myself, are also interacting across multiple time zones I think my plan is full proof.

“Hey, person in China, I’ll call you at noon”

“Ok . . . I can stay up until then.”

Easy.

This all makes a ton more sense when you consider that a number of nations are on 1/2 hour time zones (see map above).  Consider India for example.  Even though India sits mostly and directly south of China, if it is 5:12 on the China side it is 3:42 right across the border.

BUT WAIT — There is more!

Nepal which is tucked neatly between China and India has a 3/4 of an hour time zone.

My mind just exploded.

WERE NOT DONE YET — Now throw into the mix that Arizonans (except the Navajos) DO NOT acknowledge daylight savings time.

They were just like, “Meh – we don’t want to fall back.”

So imagine a booming multinational corporation trying to set up a Skype conference call between their offices in L.A., Atlanta, Beijing, Mumbai, Kathmandu and Phoenix.

“Lets schedule that for 6pm/10pm/11am/8:30am/8:15am.”

“What about Phoenix?”

“Nope, can’t talk to them until next summer.”

Yeah . . . no chance somebody’s gonna miss that one.

OR – We could do it my way.

“See you at 4.”

And those are my 500 (+) words.

Daylight Savings Time Usage Map blue=uses  orange=formerly used red=has never used

Daylight Savings Time Usage Map
blue=currently uses
orange=formerly used
red=has never used

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. I love that the east coast is back on their “real” time…because it’s 12 hours to Thai Time! That was one of my joys when I moved here…finding out I could still keep the 12 hour switch, at least for half the year. And if the US did away with daylight savings time, I would always be 12 hours from east coast time :^)

    Burma, though, is 30 minutes behind Thailand. And where I am now, my computer self-adjusts to Burma time. Too close to the border! Threw me for a HUGE loops last summer. Now I’ve told my computer that I have to manually change the time zone.

    When we went to the refugee camp, we were super confused about what was happening and WHEN it was happening until we figured out that they were on Burma-time.

    That said, I think I could handle the — we’re all on the same clock — idea you’ve proposed. But if we do that, I think we should go with military time. No point in retaining AM/PM.

    Reply
  2. Jerry, I would totally buy any book you write, even if it was not a personally autographed one! Thanks for making me chuckle. In fact, I am annoying my kids who are doing homework and have been requested to take my laughter to the back room where it cannot be heard….

    Reply
    • Tami – how about I write a book and you personally autograph my copy. Deal?

      Reply
  3. You have just described Zulu time. Invented by the first truly global empire, the British, and used with great effect by the world’s first globally synchronized organization, the US Air Force.

    Reply
    • Just my luck Carson. Thought I had a great idea. Do you know if either the British Empire or the US Air Force took out a patent? We may still have a shot.

      Reply

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