Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Still on the Lam

It has been 30 days since the federal government’s mandate, prompted by the Indiana state legislature and county officials, that I change my clocks to Central Standard Time. I have not done so. I keep an eye out for the clock police, but thus far they have not found me. I’ve carefully checked the distance from my home to the demarcation line between the Central and Eastern time zones - three miles. If government officials start to close in on me I may have to make a run for it.

Our household is divided. The clock on my nightstand is on Eastern time; that on my husband’s side of the bed is on Central. When my radio alarm comes on at 6:28 a.m., his clock reads 5:28 a.m. As does the clock in the livingroom, the bathroom, and the stove and microwave clocks in the kitchen. However, the vehicles and computers, as well as my watch, remain on Eastern time. Since he flies out of an airport in the Eastern time zone more weeks than not, he doesn’t complain.

When I announced that I was refusing to change from Eastern Standard Time after over 30 years of not changing my clocks, I didn’t think I would last this long. How confusing it would be to look at my watch and have it consistently read an hour later than that of my neighbors. I would show up early for appointments and be in a constant state of confusion. It actually has worked out better than I expected. In fact, I rather like it.

Morning is my best time of the day. It’s when I do my serious reading. It’s when I’m most motivated to do housework. I don’t like events that compete for my mornings. Being on “fast time” moves my entire schedule later in the morning. Instead of 9:00 tomorrow morning, it will be 10:00 when the library opens. I like that. Instead of 9:30 on Sunday morning, Sunday School now starts at 10:30. Of course, this carries through the entire day, making evening activities also start an hour later. 7:00 meetings are now at 8:00, well past dark. Which is the problem in the first place. We should not be in the Central time zone. Sunset today was at 4:27 Central time. Every evening activity occurs well after dark. When our government leaders decided we should move to the Central time zone for political reasons, they did not take the additional step of delaying the rising and setting of the sun so that daylight would begin and end at the proper time.

This is why I’m still on Eastern time. There’s not a lot of daylight this time of the year. Less than 10 hours a day. I’d like to enjoy all we get. The way to do that is to start my day before the sun does. Sunrise was at 6:43 Central time this morning. My alarm goes off at 6:28. By making it 6:28 Eastern time (5:28 Central), I’m awake at least an hour before sunrise rather than just a few minutes.

Of course, I could always change my clock to Central time and simply set my alarm for 5:28 instead of 6:28 in order to wake up at the same time. Ah, but then we get to the power of the clock. If our clocks didn’t have power, daylight savings time would have never lasted as long as it has. After all, we could all simply rise an hour earlier in the summer and adjust our bedtime accordingly in order to take advantage of the early sunrise. But the only way we’ll actually do that is if the government makes us change our clocks so that we think we’re still getting up at the same time while actually rising an hour earlier.

My radio comes on at 6:28 but it seldom wakes me. I typically wake up at 6:00 or even earlier. Out of consideration for my husband I try not to turn on the light on my side of the bed before 6:30, but am not adverse to using a little book light to start my morning reading any time after 5:00. I consider 5:00 to be the beginning of the new day. Any time before that is part of the night. If I put my clock on Central time, I wouldn’t feel the same about starting my day at 4:00 a.m., even though it would be at the same place in the sun cycle as 5:00 Eastern. Likewise, I wouldn’t feel the same about going to sleep at 9:30 Central as I do about calling it quits at 10:30 Eastern.

A petition is on file with the Department of Transportation asking that five counties in Indiana be returned to the Eastern time zone. No official action has been taken on that request as of yet. It’s looking like it might be spring before the final decision is made and put into effect. Will I be able to hold out? Maybe. Maybe not.

Yesterday afternoon I ventured across the county line into the Eastern time zone. It was a bit of a shock to realize when I entered a city at 5:00 that it truly was 5:00 there, that everyone else’s watches read the same as mine as they headed home from work. That could take some adjustment. Being out of step does have advantages.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I am a librarian. There are many facets to library work. One job that I don't do well is shelving books. That's because I get distracted by books that are not in their proper place on the shelf and end up sorting books rather than finishing the shelving job. That's not generally a problem because a high school student comes in twice a week to do the reshelving job. However, a couple of weeks ago, as part of another project, I had taken "new" stickers off books that were no longer new and decided to make sure there was room for them on the regular shelves. I discovered another reason why I don't do well at shelving books. I ended up checking two of them out.

The first book I checked out was Night by Elie Wiesel. I hadn't read it and didn't know what it was about; he won the Nobel Peace Prize; it was a thin paperback; it seemed like one of those books that a librarian oughtta read. Preferring to let an author deliver his/her material to me without prior prejudice from reviews or descriptions, I didn't read the cover to find out what I would encounter within the pages.

The second book was Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, another thin paperback. This one grabbed my eye because of Stephen Covey's reference to Frankl's writings in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I knew that Frankl had based his theories on self-observation in WWII concentration camps.

Of course, if you keep up on Nobel Peace prize winners or good literature or Oprah's book choices, you will know that I took home not one but two books about life in the concentration camps. I finished Wiesel's book in a week and finished the narrative part of Frankl's book last evening and started in on the conclusions he drew from his experience.

Two weeks of ending most days by reading about one of the most terrible demonstrations in all of history of the cruelty of mankind. Not exactly what I had in mind when I put those two books in my bag instead of on the shelf, but certainly a worthy addition to my "books I've read" list.

Meanwhile, I also completed Organic Church by Neil Cole. It didn't come from the library, but off my recommendations list at Amazon because it fits in with my typical book selections. In this book, Cole told the story of "Schindler's List". Being hypersensitive to film drama and disenamored with television and movies in general, watching a movie such as "Schindler's List" isn't in the competition at all as something I'd enjoy doing. However, I think it may finally be time. I've been slogging through the Holocaust anyway. If I'm ever going to watch this powerful film, now is probably the time. I think. Maybe. But not yet. I'll finish the Frankl book first and then think about it.

Friday, November 10, 2006


The internet has had a huge impact on research. I have an incredible collection of facts and figures and information of all kinds at my fingertips. If I want to mention the world population, I can get an instantaneous estimate. If I want to share a song that is special to me, I can find the lyrics and copy them here. If I want to comment on last week’s news, I can pull up countless reports and related trivia. If I’m not sure I’m spelling or using a word correctly, I can go digging for it in either my word processor or in an online dictionary.

Having information so accessible doesn’t make gathering it instantaneous. Nor does the internet contain the resources to make certain everything I want to say is factual. For example, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a short news release for the local newspaper about the historical collection of that newspaper at the library. I wanted to include the dates of the collection. As far as I know I was the first to publish those dates. Thus, I had to make a trip to the library and check and record the dates before I could finish the article.

Sometimes one can write around missing facts. “The library has an extensive collection of this newspaper on microfilm.” “The more than 6 billion people in the world ...” Other times, doing the required research is the only way to produce good writing. This can be quite annoying when one has time to either write or do the research but not both. When is it better to write around missing facts and when is it better to gather the information now and schedule another time to finish the writing project? If that project is part of an ongoing discussion, will what I want to write still be relevant when I return to the project?

We have an incredible amount of information at our fingertips, which makes tossing around unverified information and ignoring readily-available standards less excusable than ever before. I’m sure that’s a good thing. It is also rather annoying.