harder than it has to be

Daylight Savings aka Jaws by daniellivengood

It occurs to me that the other people who live at my house have an absolute unholy fascination with clocks. These people HAVE to know EXACTLY what time it is – at all times. It”s an obsession. Sometimes I think the rest of them were related to Galileo, Pope Gregory or that our last name was not “Cantrell” but rather, Bulova.

There is a clock of some kind in every room of our house. In a couple of rooms there’s more than one. Once, I counted sixteen of all types and persuasions at my place, analog clocks, digital clocks, computer clocks, radio clocks, TV clocks and a decorative clock bought an eon ago whose face not only tells you what time it is but also implores you to “SEE ROCK CITY.”

Another is a black box, stern looking affair that I’ve really never liked. The darn thing ticks in a loud, kind of ominous manner like it might be counting down to Armageddon or the end of time. Anyway there’s just no way I’m ever going to take it upon myself to experiment and see what happens if I set its alarm and let it go off. No way.

There are just some things I don’t need to find out. I figure it might be one of those atomic clocks like they have in Greenwich, Switzerland, where they keep Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which, I think, is whatever time it is on the Sun or maybe Pluto.

As you might surmise, transitioning to and from Daylight Saving Time can be a little problematical with all these clocks. And while I don’t necessarily hate DST, but you might say that me and Daylight Savings Time definitely have an arms-length relationship. If, in fact, you did say it, you’d be right too. The bald-headed, butt-naked truth is I haven’t suddenly developed 20/20 vision in my seniority. I find myself holding newspapers, books and sometimes even eyeglasses at arm’s length these days.

Nevertheless, Spring Forward/Fall Back Days can be dicey. They are not always pain-free even occasions at my house, not even for a college graduate, or even for a “McGyver”, a “Stephen Hawking” or for an even the Siri, that relentlessly cheery and correct-about-everything white woman, who lives inside my iPad.

For one thing, there is a concerted world-wide technological conspiracy afoot these days that makes everything much harder than it has to be. Take what happened on this day last year, as I was trying to re-set the clock on my so-called “smart” TV. Immediately after I get started, it produces a picture on-screen that tells me in order to re-set for DST, I have to log onto the manufacturer’s website and read it “FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.” Now, you’d think a smart TV (or even a dumb one) would do better by it’s owner. At 2:00 in the morning – or whatever time it is in Seoul – you hope the company that originally manufactured the TV and owns the website – is still in business and that their computer is “up.”

A LOT has happened in the world in this last year, you know. You also have to hope that your WI-FI provider doesn’t pick this exact time to mess things up by deciding that 2:00 a.m. Sunday, when nothing else is going on, is the PERFECT time to do system maintenance – or as I’m sure they call it inside the company, “Screw with our customers, especially Will Cantrell.” Nothing’s easy these days.

Once I’m able to find the site, in order to get FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS, I find I need to climb, twist and contort my body underneath the entertainment center that houses the TV, get it’s serial number, model number and enter it to the website. Of course, these numbers are microscopically printed in near-invisible ink on a rear on the inside of the TV in a place where you have to stand on your head to get even a glimpse of it and where the TV’s designers never had any intention of the owner ever being able to see in the first place.

After this affront, once you’ve found the FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS one comes to find that in order to get the FINAL DST RE-SET INSTRUCTIONS, you need the personal pin number and the password set up this time LAST YEAR on the same website. Hell, how would I possibly know what is the damn password I set up exactly a year ago? Don’t these people understand, as with everything else in life, it’s either use it or lose it? Anyway, me and the company’s computer go back and forth – between my place and Seoul, South Korea – with them sending me special codes to reset my computer I.D. and my password all so that I can “spring forward” their dumb clock on my TV.

By the time all this transpires, and I reset the clock, it’s six o’clock in the morning (I started at 2 a.m.)the sun is peeking over the horizon and I’ve lost THREE hours (or is it FOUR?) to DST, my Circadian sleep rhythms are shot to hell and I’ve gotten exactly 0 hours of REM sleep.

Triumphantly, after all of this has transpired and I have reset the TV clock to Daylight Savings Time and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I, an average man, have claimed victory over time and technology and have by now re-set all the clocks inside the house to Day Light Saving Time. All the clocks even read the EXACT same time and I’ve even managed to avoid setting of Armageddon by accidentally pushing the wrong button on that stupid, ominous, “atomic” clock.

Then I hear Siri say something like, “You forgot the clock in the car, blockhead.”

But since no one in the history of mankind – not even Stephen Hawking or McGyver or Neil DeGrasse-Tyson has ever been able to adjust the time on an automobile dash clock, I yell an epithet at Siri and tell her to “Fix it your damn self, Siri. I head to the comfort of bed, bleary-eyed, confident in man’s supremacy over technology and ready sleep all the way to the crack of noon. (Or will it really be 11:00?)


Image: Daylight Savings by daniellivengood via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.
Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.