Monday, November 12, 2007

What Time Is It?

Okay, I have to laugh at myself first. I typed in the subject line of this entry, hit the Enter button, and voila! A totally blank entry, successfully posted!

And it's not just because I'm tired. Probably.

Not necessarily.

Actually, what I wanted to talk about is an incident that happened a little before midnight, about an hour and a half ago. It's notable for the fact that it gives me a rare opportunity to laugh at John when he's not being intentionally funny. John is a funny man--"He makes me laugh," as I'm always quoting Jessica Rabbit as saying--but this was something else. This was John making (gasp!) a mistake!

Sorry, John, but I was desperate for a topic. You don't mind, do you? Much?

Clocks can lie. So can computers.

Here's what happened. John asked me what time it was. I told him it was almost midnight, which it was. He then went into the kitchen, where the wall clock said it was after midnight. (It runs a little fast.) He went on to protest that according to his computer, it was only 8:38 PM (or something like that).

"Did you really think it was only 8:30?"

"I lost track of the time. I just thought I was really getting a lot of work done, and it was only 8:30! It was a nice change from looking up and seeing that it was midnight."

"Except that it is midnight."

"Yes, but I didn't know that."

Okay, the above may be slightly fictionalized. But that's the gist of it.

On this computer, if I let it go idle, the clock in the lower right hand corner stops advancing until I bring it out of screen saver or sleep mode. At various jobs I've seen one slightly-wrong time on the office computer, another, even more wrong time on the telephone display. Or maybe they were the same wrong time, whatever. The point is that I knew not to trust them.

But what about the clock in my car? I figure I have five minutes to spare, and I make a five minute stop, and suddenly I'm running five minutes late. How does that work?

Why do these clocks keep lying to us?

I've done work on TWO pieces of fiction today. Go, me! Go to bed, that is.



Paul said...

Yesterday at work I was feeling frustrated because the day was going so slowly. Suddenly my relief arrived. "Kind of early, aren't you?" I asked him. He looked at me funny, so I checked the time on the computer. It was quitting time. Then I looked at my watch, only to find out it had stopped two hours earlier.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Heh. Thanks to you, I've just figured out the logic behind a George Carlin routine from the early 1970s, in which the DJ for the AM station "Wonderful WINO" keeps announcing "WINO time: Bing-bong, five minutes past the big hour of 5 o'clock." A stopped clock! Al these years, and I never caught on!

But really, don't you notice after a while that it's the same exact time?

Paul said...

Or, as Janis Joplin pointed out, "tomorrow never really comes, man. It's all the same fucking day, man."