Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me."
Last Saturday night the clocks changed. Or they stayed the same. It was rather hard to tell.
Spouse and I awoke on Sunday morning and stumbled around in the gloom, quite out of sorts and feeling that everything was, somehow, all horribly wrong.
We had suffered a temporary power cut as we slumbered, so the clocks running on electricity were either comatose, blinking wildly at 12:00, or hours off their schedule. How many hours, we could not know, not having witnessed the exact moment of the blackout.
Our lack of orientation revolved around one question: was it the week to change the clocks, or was it not? Each one of our time keepers was telling their own version of the story.
Our computers were up to mischief. One of them had been programmed long ago to automatically adjust the time to Daylight Savings; but since the recent- and, frankly, baffling- nationwide rearrangement of that plan, the computer is in error twice a year. Our second computer had been programmed after that matter was resolved, and was therefore expected to keep to the correct time- correct as it is currently accepted.
The two computers, then, argued with one another as regards the time, but Spouse and I had no method of finding out which one was right.
The clocks in our home that were battery operated seemed, at a glance, to be telling the truthful time- but therein lay more trouble.
Then take, for example, the battery-powered clock shaped like a cat that hangs on our kitchen wall. It would not, of course, be affected by a power cut. It would not automatically reset the time- either correctly or incorrectly- for Daylight Savings. For us to determine the honesty of the grinning feline, we first had to establish whether or not Daylight Savings had happened to us, a puzzle we conversely could not get to the bottom of without the assistance of a trustworthy clock.
Mater was the only soul we knew who might possibly be awake, residing as she does five hours ahead of us in Ireland. It would not, however, have done the least bit of good to ask her the time because we had no point of reference with which to confirm her answer; and because we vaguely suspected that the time in Ireland had in fact been set back overnight by one hour, reducing our difference to four hours; and because we were equally clueless as to whether or not Mater's change occurred in the same week that ours did- it used to be the same, but I thought I recalled some alteration to that- which allowed more confusion to rain down upon our poor befuddled heads.
So we wandered about for a while, deeply unsettled, desperately needing to know the time of day and asking each other, as a way of scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel, what we thought the time might be.
One guess, after all, was as good as another.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 8:10 AM