Sunday, November 02, 2014

Speaking of time management, what did you do with the hour you got back from DST? (Including my favorite story about DST "fallback" day)


DILBERT          by Scott Adams

Did it ever occur to you that salad tongs might be useful for those of us with, er, time-management issues.

by Ken

I don't know how you feel about your time management, but I always have the feeling mine sucks, and on an especially hectic weekend (in the space of not much more than 24 hours three walking tours in three different boroughs of NYC plus a performance of Ruddigore plus maybe a few hours' sleep) it was a blessed relief when I remembered that this was the night when we set the clocks back to end daylight savings time. (You know, "spring forward, fall back." Whew, that's right, last night we got back the hour that was pirated away from us in the spring.)

Which brings me to the story I promised above, my favorite "DST falling-back" story. I apologize that I don't feel right sharing the identity of the principal player in this little drama, who was a person of some renown, whom you might well be familiar with, and then the story would have a richer resonance. But it just doesn't feel right. Suffice it to say that I was on duty for the very first time as the only staff person in the office on a Sunday a number of years ago -- the very Sunday when we "fell back" from DST that year -- when a student from one of our classes came up to ask if we (meaning me) had heard from their instructor. By then it must have been more than an hour past their scheduled class start time; the class wouldn't have sent an emissary if the time were less, since they knew that their instructor never arrived, shall we say, on the dot, and they knew this was something they really didn't want to bring to the attention of the office. They were very loyal to, and protective of, their guy.

Of course I didn't know anything, and I had never dealt with anything like this. Heck, I was so new on the job that I really hadn't dealt with much of anything at all. The only thing I could think to do was to call the instructor's home, which I did, figuring it would be futile. I mean, what would he be doing at home an hour and a quarter or an hour and a half after his class was supposed to start? He could be dead or incapacitated, I realized, but in those cases he was most unlikely to answer the phone, and I would first have to figure out what my next step was.

But he did answer the phone, and he was charming as could be, and apologetic as could be. And he explained that the problem was all due to daylight savings time. Which I would of course have understood if this had been the Sunday when we sprang forward, and lost an hour. How it happened that, having that surplus "fallback" hour, he was nevertheless still at home an hour and a half (surely by then) after his class was supposed to start, he didn't quite explain amidst all the apologizing and charming.

I guess I was so relieved to find him alive and well, or well-ish, that I didn't press the issue, and passed on to the student emissary the information that he was okay and on his way. Beyond that, I didn't have then, and have never since come up with, an explanation. Sunspot activity, perhaps? A time-travel mishap? Your guess is as good as mine.

So what did you do with your bonus hour? (You did know that last night was the night we set the clocks back, right?)


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