My old alarm clock went off this morning before my mobile phone did. That’s odd, I thought as I scrambled over to shut the thing up.
The dumb alarm clock — as in, not smart like my phone — is the backup alarm, the one that will faithfully and annoyingly beep at me at 3:30 a.m. no matter what, and has zero risk of downloading a faulty software upgrade at midnight.
Why didn’t my mobile phone wake me first, as it was programmed to? And then I realized: It’s an hour earlier than I thought. My mobile phone knew that today was time change day. And so did all of my laptops.
1) My time-keeping technology can be broken down into smart and dumb depending upon whether they know to adjust the time. (Darn you microwave!)
2) Does it amaze you that nearly all of American society adjusts the time by one hour twice per year? And the fact that a couple of states have chosen to opt out makes it even more hilarious.
Can you imagine how this would appear to an outsider? Humans are such kooks.
It’s kind of whimsical though — so much of America has been homogenized for maximum efficiency. This is a ridiculous tradition that continues because we lack the ability to fight the inertia to change it.
Season changes are delightful. The time change is silly, but somewhat delightful in its whimsy — an aberration more reliable than a snow day. They remind me of this passage from C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters.”
Here, one of the devil’s minions is educating a junior minion about human kind. Their purpose is to destroy joy and promote anguish, but to do so, the junior minion must first understand how humans are created. In the context of this book, “the Enemy” is God.
The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart — an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end it itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme.
. . . If we neglect our duty, men will not be only contented but transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrise this morning, plum pudding this Christmas. Children, until we have taught them better, will be perfectly happy with a seasonal round of games in which conkers succeed hopscotch as regularly as autumn follows summer.
May we never get so tired of life that the seasonal changes fail to delight us.
—- ### —
If you liked this post, you might like:
Why the passage of time confounds us
Happy Solstice! (Learn a new word, and thoughts on relativity)
Have you thought about death today?
Gratitude for bees
A gift to humanity (Steve Jobs, 1955-2011)
An illustration: Smart phone goes here
Simple life lessons: Following a leadership pattern
Simplicity gains momentum, but at what cost?
Nothing to see here, for Seattleites only
A paradox of modern life: Comfort is a noose
How to become a runner (inspiration for everyone)
A Seattle transplant reminisces about swimming pools
There’s no such thing as paradise on Earth
Pop the cork, spritz the pricey perfume, today is special
Down with gravity; Up with entropy!
Big wheels keep on turning
A layman’s poem with a simple message