It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the leaves are budding out on the trees, and we spring forward an hour to gain daylight (huh?). At least the United States sprang forward. Europe doesn’t change time until next weekend so that is two full weeks that I have to calculate time differently to know what time it is in Colorado, Alabama, and the East Coast. Silly as that sounds, I have missed 3 teleconferences and had to rearrange plans multiple times because I thought I knew what time it was in the US but I clearly did not. We are now only 6 hours ahead of Alabama instead of 7. It’s not as simple as it sounds, I have teleconferences with people in every time zone and family in 3 out of 4 time zones in the US so I have been very confused (more than normal) about what time it is in each city.
Every time I have messed it up this week, I have chuckled at an old inside joke in my family. I grew up in Michigan, the only state in the United States with a 10 cent refund on cans and bottles. Because of that, you pay an extra $2.40 for every case of soda or beer that you buy. We lived near the Indiana border and I have heard of family members driving to Indiana to buy beer/soda to avoid the deposit fee (gas used to be cheaper). The hardest part of diving to Indiana to shop was that we never knew what time it was in Indiana. They did not observe daylight savings so for half of the year they were on Eastern Time and the other half they were on Central Time. As a semi-surly teenager, I would sit around listening to the adults debate what time it was in Indiana and roll my annoyed eyes. Now I understand their calculation woes.
Just tonight I confused about what time it was in Alabama. I went to a local Birmingham weather blog to see if the predicted severe storms were going to thrash the state. Side note, Alabamians don’t trust the national weather service (might stem from overall federal government distrust) so we have our own local legend, James Spann, who everyone trusts to accurately tell us what is happening with the weather. We routinely live under frequent storm watches/warnings according to the national weather service but they are even more common in the spring. If we followed national watches and warnings, we would never go to work/school. So the local guy tells us exactly what part of the state is being targeted by weather. Even my Colorado living Michigan born parents know to check with James Spann if national news is saying bad weather is coming to the Southeast.
I started getting text messages that my son’s school in Birmingham was dismissing early and was checking the weather since it was about the time the storms were scheduled to strike. Because of my inability to process the time change in Alabama, I was off by two hours. I went one hour in the wrong direction, so the storms hadn’t started yet. You see, that is my problem, when I mess the time up I really mess it up. I knew it was one hour different than it normally would be but I took it one hour the wrong way. So I wound up two full hours off (see why I missed so many teleconferences last week). Again I had to laugh at my teenage self. And I have no excuse, my phone can tell me exactly what time it is in Alabama.
Whether I am in the US or France, whether it is fall or spring, I have a strong aversion to the time change. When I was my sons age, I barely noticed it, now my sleep is affected for a week. All the same, as much I can’t stand changing time, Europe will be changing times this weekend. So I should be able to get it right again (if I haven’t throughly reprogrammed my brain into confusion)? On the positive side, the time change means spring is coming. You wouldn’t know it though based on the weather here. A Siberian air mass has pushed down on Europe and we are back to winter style temperatures. I guess that is the same as a blast of Canadian air in the US. We had a similar cold front in February and Météo France (kind of like NOAA or the Weather Channel) called it the Moscow-Paris Front. It’s supposed to last the whole week but then the spring will return. I can’t wait!