Messing with time: Should we even try?

Find yourself running early this morning? If so, it probably meant you didn’t set your clocks and watches back an hour before going to bed Saturday night.

Daylight Savings Time ended at 0200 (2 a.m.) Sunday, which means we finally recaptured the hour we lost in the Spring when we moved the same clocks and watches up an hour.

My paternal grandmother used to call DST “idiocy that tried to make a blanket longer by cutting a foot off one end and sewing it on the other.” As a kid who spent the better part of his teenage years on a cattle farm, the end of DST mean bellowing bovines who could not figure out why they were getting fed an hour late.

The computers at our house make the switch automatically.  So do two “Eco-Drive” watches made by Citizens Watch Company in Japan, which contact the shortwave radio system every 24 hours to make any necessary adjustments to the “correct” time. I used one this morning as the “referral” watch for necessary adjustments to several of the mechanical movement or quartz watches we own.

My internet server runs on “universal time,” also referred to as “Zulu” time by the military. A friend who worked at the Pentagon would suggest we meet for breakfast on some mornings at “1200 hours,” which was five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time or four hours over Eastern Daylight Time. His normal workday ran fro 1400 to 2300 Zulu.

Universal time is also referred to as “Greenwich Mean Time,” because the world’s time zones begin at the international clock maintained at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park overlooking the River Thames in London.  When I traveled extensively to various parts of the world, I wore a “GMT” watch that gave me the “local times” of wherever I might be and the GMT one simultaneously.

Nowadays, I mostly wear a Luminox GMT, an inexpensive, lightweight carbon fiber quartz model that keeps more accurate time than mainspring automatics like Rolex or Breitling or Omega.

Another old friend who is now a retired air traffic controller used to tell a story about a pilot who called into the ATC center and asked for “the correct time.”

The controller answering the call asked, “what carrier?”

The pilot answered back “does that matter?”

“Absolutely,” he said.  “If you are American Airlines, the time is 11:00 p.m.  If you are Pan American Air, the time is 2300 hours, but if you’re Allegheny Airlines, the time is Thursday.”

Two of the three airlines — PanAm and Allegheny — no longer exist but most airlines with international routes depend on GMT time.

GMT does not recognize daylight saving time. Neither do many of the world’s time zones. Arizona does not recognize DST (although the state’s Indian reservations to). Neither does Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Here in Floyd County, VA, we live on “Floyd Time,” which varies, considering who may or may not practice the custom.

So what time is it?

This is Floyd. Who cares?

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