Friday, October 30, 2015

"A (Mostly Irrational But What Else Is New) Fear Of Tomorrow"

Tomorrow is Halloween.  For most people.  I mean, it is Halloween for me too.  But for me, the last day of October more importantly denotes another occasion, an occasion which fills me with… I would say dread but I’d be overdramatizing which is good for attracting attention, which could send my readership skyrocketing, but contradicts my reputation as a reliable “Truth-teller.”  So let’s say – because it is totally accurate – the occasion fills me with darkening apprehension. 

I have been thinking about it for weeks.  

“For weeks” is not an exaggeration for dramatic effect.  I actually have been thinking about this for weeks.  Though when you hear what it is, you will undoubtedly say, “That’s ridiculous!” 

You will get no argument from me.

October the 31st is significant to me beyond the obvious children wearing adorable costumes, candlelit Jack-O’-Lanterns and candy.  (And the secret hope that not a lot of “Trick-or-Treaters” will show up so I can retain the preponderance of the candy for myself, which is why I specifically buy them candy I like.)

What is the significance of October the 31st  for me?

October the 31st is the day we officially turn back the clocks.

(Regular readers may at this point by ahead of me.  Yes, it is another one of “those stories.”)

Most of the clocks in my house are relatively easy to adjust; I can turn them an hour back with a minimum of difficulty.  Not so, however, the Bose CD-clock-radio on my bedside night table. (That awakens me to the original theme song of Hockey Night In Canada.)

Oh, my.  I can feel the apprehension in my gut. 

I mention specifically the manufacturer Bose, to shame the company mercilessly in public.  Before I purchased their high priced ($250) apparatus, I had a thirty-dollar CD-clock-radio (which wore out after twenty years) that included a button that said, “Time Change”, and when you pressed that button, it automatically changed the time, an hour forward or an hour backward, as necessitated by the season.  The Bose CD-clock-radio offers no such convenience. 

Meaning a user such is myself is relegated to executing the time-changing maneuver on his own.

You pay more; you get less.  Go figure.


I know I pulled off the “time-changing” maneuver last spring.  But that was six months ago.  Generally speaking, if you do things only twice a year, there is a more than even chance you have totally forgotten how to do it.

Let me try and explain something to you. 

There is knowing how to do something, and not knowing how to do something.

The two conditions are fundamentally different.  (Beyond the “knowing” and the “not knowing” part of it.)

Take, for example, the arena of technological chazzerai.  (Read:  “Devices”, but with a whiff of disparagement.)

Metaphorically speaking, the people who know how to… program things… stand on the other side of a Grand Canyon-like “Chasm of Knowledgeability”, listening to their iTunes and visiting the “App Store.”  (I once visited the “App Store”, they asked for my password, and I never visited them again.)

Anyway… there they are, these “Soldiers of Tomorrow”, happy and self-satisfied, eager for arrival of the “Next New Thing” that they can program in seconds and begin immediately to enjoy.

On the opposite side of that “Chasm of Knowledgeability” is another group of people, grunting monosyllabically and beating a tree trunk with a giant stick.

Or so it appears.

To the people on my side.

Who are highly sensitive to the dichotomy.

Along that “Continuum of Capability” – bringing us back to October the 31st – are people, who, due to inadequate repetition, retain a tenuous understanding of the procedure they had momentarily mastered.

The transformation involves a “Three-Step” process:

We didn’t know how to do it.  Then we knew how to do it.  Then we forgot how to do it.

Do you remember the film Awakenings?  Robert DeNiro.  He’s catatonic.  Then he’s normal.  The medicine stops working; he’s catatonic again.

That is exactly what I’m talking about. 

I didn’t know, then I knew, now I’m back where I started.

Smacking a tree trunk with a giant stick.

I do not blame the children.  Call the non sequitor police?  Not at all.  The “Fall Back” time change was instituted so that children somewhere in America who still walk to school are able to walk there when it is light out, the concern being, I suppose, that otherwise, they might walk past the school because it is too dark for them to see where it is and miss out on their entire education.  Or at least half of it, waiting for spring, when they can walk to school when it is light out once again. 

(Note:  There could be another reason for the seasonal time change, but that is the one I have always heard mentioned.)

The children are not to be faulted.  We do things for our children, and that’s fine.

But oh, the sacrifice. 

Disproportionally applied.

Because of the children, I and people of my ilk are forced to confront our CD-clock-radios.

I have held on to the “Instruction Manual.” 

And tomorrow, I shall open it up.

I would ask you to wish me luck. 

But I am afraid of the words…

“You’re an idiot!”


Wendy M. Grossman said...

There is a *really* simple solution. Move to Europe. Right now. Europe changed its clocks *last* weekend. You can avoid the whole thing if you leave before Saturday night.

Or, even more disruptively, move to central Indiana. There are some towns on the time zone border that don't change their clocks at all but simply shift time zones when other people change their clocks.


YEKIMI said...

Or buy a radio/clock that automatically changes time whenever that time of the year rolls around. Did that years ago and haven't had to worry about it since.

JED said...

My son did what YEKIMI did but then the rules changed. So now, the clock changes the time on the old schedule. There doesn't seem to be a way to change the dates for changing the times. So, even though I'm an electronics engineer, I've been defeated by a craftier (or less diligent?) engineer.

YEKIMI said...

Mine also has a manual way to change the time if it ever goes out of wack. But I had to google it to see how to do it because for some reason it got off by 7 minutes. I know that sort of defeats the purpose of having an automatic clock that changes time by itself but it sort of beats having to buy a new one especially if you only have to do it twice a year.

Rebecca said...

I always thought the time change had something to do with farmers. Although, if it was kids, I'd think it was a safety issue of walking in the dark, rather than not being able to find their school - though I have to say, I do find that things look amazingly different in the dark.

Also, I never heard about sleep related issues due to time change until the last year or so. I've never personally noticed anything different, but that may be because I've had random sleep issues all of my adult life anyway. In any case, I would love to stay on daylight saving time the whole year. I love when it doesn't get dark until late. Of course, I found out this summer that there can be too much of a good thing. In Europe, it didn't get dark until around 11 pm. And that, I found, was a bit weird.