Sooner or Later


 A funny thing happened to me on the way to Norman, Oklahoma.

My so-called smartphone, a Samsung SCH-i760 which runs Windows (@%$&) Mobile 6-point-something, has a funny way of handling time zones. It’s a bit too smart for its own good.

Oklahoma is officially in U.S. Central time, with a small portion of the state unofficially on Mountain time. My ordinary stomping grounds are, of course, located in U.S. Eastern time, which, as most everyone knows, is one hour ahead of Central time. So, when I landed in Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport last Sunday night, after dutifully reactivating my “portable electronic device” I was confused to see that it was still displaying Eastern time, even though the phone was in service using the local cellular towers. My fancy wristwatch, a “smart” bargain that I had purchased about a year earlier, ceased working on the way to the airport a few hours earlier. Ok, I told myself, I can live with this for a few days. What I did not notice is that my geniusphone had insidiously moved all the previously scheduled appointments and reminders on my Microsoft (@%$&) Outlook calendar ahead by one hour. Just one hour.

The next morning, I woke up earlier than usual (say, about an hour earlier) in a hotel room with a bedside clock radio which displayed Central time (expected) and a phone which displayed Eastern time (annoying, but at this point, expected). My wristwatch – accurate only twice per day – was stuffed into my luggage.   After some orange juice and a run on the hotel treadmill, I began reading over some documents in preparation for—oh wait, didn’t I have a scheduled phone call to make to a prospective client?  I checked my PDA – nope.  Not until 10am.  I continued working.  A while later, around 8:10 CST, I felt a psychic ping from my deep subconscious mind, “Dan…. Dan….”     Oh, dang.  Dang dang dangit. I checked the original email – yup,  the meeting was supposed to be at 9am EST, not 10am as my PDA was showing.  I called the prospective client, who was nonplussed at my missing the call at the appointed time, and my inability to navigate a simple time zone change.   “Perhaps we can talk another time, in the future.”   [click]   

Back in the 1880’s and 1890’s, the U.S. Federal government enacted a series of land runs in Oklahoma, to encourage settlement of Federal Lands and former Indian Territories, by homesteaders.  The way this worked was simple:  At a certain day at a certain hour, a series of land parcels would be made available and there would be a race – whoever could grab themselves a parcel first would own it.  In Oklahoma, many of the aspiring new landowners decided to get a leg up on the competition and crossed into the territory early, grabbing choice parcels of land before anyone else – them suckers who played by the rules – could get to them.  These folks were called Sooners, on account of their having arrived just a wee bit early…  real Johnnys-on-the-spot, you might say. Eventually, the term Sooners became a nickname for all Oklahomans.

I Got Messed Up On CST, But At Least I Got This Nice T-Shirt

I Got Messed Up On CST, But At Least I Got This Nice T-Shirt

In Norman, there’s a strong local pride on this idea of the Sooners – and not just because that’s is the name of the OU college football team who are doing very well this season.  There’s this notion that, if you’re going to give an opportunity – in the form of, say,  a land parcel – to the person who wants it badly enough (and who is fit enough, and with enough means) to get to it quickest, well, by that Darwinian logic, doggone it, why not accept those folks who were clever enough to beat the system entirely and find a shortcut? “The early bird gets the worm.”

Ah, Survival of the Fittest is such a subjective thing. Life can be tough, and the economy can be tough… and when you don’t have an established relationship with a prospective client, they can choose to be tougher with you than they would be with others.  (Nareg, you might ask, “Are you sure they are clients worth having?  Maybe this is their loss…”   I won’t come to any conclusions about that yet… I’ll give them another chance to give me another chance…)

Tuesday morning I wake up in a different hotel room, this time in Norman.  My cell phone says 6:30am.  My bedside clock radio says 6:30am.   Hmmm…  did the (@%$&) Microsoft  technology need 24 hours to re-orient itself to Central time? After a few minutes later, I stumble out of the bathroom and check through my calendar… appointments still appear to be time-shifted…  wait… what’s going on?  I turn on the t.v. and try to find a channel with the local time displayed… no luck.  Finally, I give in to the ancient practice of time telling through direct observation.    I call the hotel front desk.

“This may sound strange, but could you please tell me what time it is?”

“It’s 5:40am, sir.”

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on December 11, 2008, in Diversions, humor. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. awesome story! (sorry about the client.. that part totally blows. business culture has become such a harsh realm…)

    but!

    perfect example of why i keep repeating to everyone why i’m a total luddite when it comes to unreliable technology handling sensitive information.

    as a side note,

    it’s been more than 10 years now i haven’t worn a watch. it started with the metal strap shaving my arm hair (perks of being armenian) and ended with “i will free myself of time”.

    as a side effect, it ended up fine tuning my internal clock (which is usually accurate to about +/- 15mins)

    but i digress..

    it’s all about being lo-tech (not no-tech). versatile, modular, adaptable, cheap, lo-tech. (in this case, pen and paper)

    this is pretty much the same reason why i back my gmail account up onto my home comp. one day, them gmail folks are gonna lose my emails.. im sure of it!

  2. when my last watch stopped working around a year ago, i never replaced it. instead i’ve been using computer, car, cell phone, microwave, stove, clockradios, programmable thermostats, and my dear husband for reference.

    once i was really late picking up my kids from school because for some unknown reason, the computer clock was about 20 minutes slow. when i told the teachers what had happened, i got the “yeah right, bad mom” hairy eyeball.

    i use a pencil and paper day-timer for appointments. so i guess you can call me a luddite too (oh, wait, smg already did that…)

  3. totally dz!!

    i do all my work appointments by pen and paper as well.. even tho ive computerized the office… pencil/paper get such an unjustified bad rap! they totally have their place in the new era.

    btw its quite fascinating how many places there are that tell the time. you notice them more when u dont wear a watch!

  4. great comments. i can relate… mostly.

    on the topic of pervasive clocks, ticking all around us all the time, check out this little bit of “RIGHT NOW”ness:
    http://now.sprint.com/widget/

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