Different Times

Changing the clocks doesn’t seem to be the big thing it always used to appear to be anymore. Times have changed. And I don’t just mean in the adjustment for the Earth’s rotation way that we observe every six months.

When I was younger, the weekend of the clock changes – whether it was forward in spring or back in autumn – always seemed like a really big deal.

It was always the way, in my familial house, that the clocks would be adjusted prior to going to bed on the Saturday night. That way you would wake up on the Sunday morning and ready to embrace the new time zone you found yourself in.

Timepieces would be handed over to my dad, who would work some kind of mystical magic and hand them back. They would be wrong, but once we’d gone to bed – either really late or really early depending on the time of year – the morning would bring us into a new reality. There were other clocks which would each need their own special bit of coaxing into a new timeframe. My parents, for a very long time, had a cooker so old that the clock more or less worked by looking at the shadow cast by the hands when the sun hit it. This required special care and attention when it came to changing the clock, as one wrong pull on a ridiculously long turning mechanism and you’d find the alarm going off in the middle of the night.

Everything had to be done. There was a routine. It was a chore, sure, but it got the job done. You had a sense that something was happening. A changing in the seasons.

Nowadays, there’s nothing. Everything does it itself. There are more wireless signals controlling clocks than I’ve had hot dinners. You don’t have to touch a thing. The loss or gain of an hour passes by with nary a whisper. If it wasn’t for all the people complaining about the lost hour on Facebook, you’d not even know it had happened. You’d just be thinking that you felt a bit more on the tired side today, or that you woke up unusually early for the first time in a while.

The automatic things don’t even make a fuss about it. There’s no message to say “Hi, just so you know, the clock’s changed…” You’re just carrying on as if everything is exactly the same. Eventually you’ll notice it’s a bit lighter in the evenings, but there’s nothing to really mark the occasion.

I guess, in a way, that’s the ultimate goal. If it just happens with nary a thought then the clock can change and no-one will witter about it. When it gets to winter and the clocks go back, no-one would be ready to start their annual complaint about children coming home from school in the day (while neglecting to process the fact that without the change they’d be going to school in the dark instead).

It’d happen with no pomp or ceremony. Just a fluctuation in the strings of zeros and ones digested by the digital word around me.

Different times.