Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The clocks are stupid, not me. Really. They are.



     A smart person can do some pretty stupid things.
     Whether the doing of those stupid things crosses some stupidity threshold and transforms the heretofore smart person into a newly minted stupid person depends on a) the number and magnitude of the stupid thing or things this supposed smart person has done and b) the charitable or non-charitable way in which those stupid things are viewed.
    You'll have to decide...
   Last Wednesday evening, Dan Savage, syndicated sex columnist, author of best-selling memoirs, MTV star, perhaps the most significant journalist in America, asks if I'll be on his top-rated podcast. 
    I reply, "yes." 
Dan Savage
    Actually, I reply, "YES!!!!!" with the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl accepting her first date, because this represents the kind of outside validation which, laboring behind the plow, digging furrow after furrow in the hard earth, I crave.
     He tells me his producer—a producer is a person who handles the fine details such as scheduling, someone I don't have, but could sorely use, as will become evident—will contact me and schedule our chat. Ten minutes later I hear from producer Nancy. 
    "We will call you most likely around 11 Pacific time," she writes.
     Well, even I know the West Coast is two hours behind us, so that's 9 a.m. my time, I think. About the time I arrive at work. But if the train is late, as it sometimes is, I'll be huffing along Wacker Drive at 9 a.m. instead of poised in my chair, calm and composed, nipping at a fresh coffee, ready to wax with the kind of wit and intelligence that will project me into the world of syndicated columns, best-selling books and top podcasts. I decide it would make more sense to stay home to do the podcast. I prepare by listening to Dan's podcast, then get to bed early.
     At 8:45 a.m. Thursday, I set aside my work, pour a hot cup of coffee, and am poised in my chair, calm and composed, nipping at a fresh coffee, ready to wax with kind of wit and intelligence that will project me into the world of syndicated columns, best-selling books and top podcasts 
     Waiting. 
     9:05 a.m., poised in my chair, calm and composed, nipping at a fresh coffee... aw heck, you get the idea.
       At 9:06, worrying I'm seeming over-eager, I shoot Nancy an email. "Standing by." 
      Hmmm, must be a delay. I picture an electronic control center, crackling with activity. 9:10. 9:15, I use my cell to call my own phone. It rings. That's a good sign.
       At 9:17 I send Dan an email. "Running late?" 9:20 a.m. I think to check the time in Seattle. It's 7:26 a.m. there. Ohhh. Two hours before. I send the producer an apologetic note beginning "Whoops..." and reset my mental clock for 11 a.m. Go back to work or try to. 
     10:50 a.m. I'm ready, hot coffee, turning bon mots over in my head. Are they bon motty enough? 11 a.m. Poised in my chair, calm and composed, nipping at a fresh coffee, etc. etc. Right on the nose, 11 a.m..     
     11:05. 11:10. 11:20, my composure wilting like a ... heck, I should be able to come up with a sexual metaphor, in honor of Dan's line of work ... wilting like a ... ah ... like an, umm, thingie...  umm....that ... how does he write that sex stuff anyway? It's a lot harder than it looks.
    Well, wilting anyway, flagging like an, err... I figure, I'd better call his producer.  I get voicemail. "That was today, right?" A few minutes later I get an email. 
     "We were thinking 11:00 Pacific time. That's 1:00 your time," she says. "Can you still do it?"
      You'll notice the lack of sarcasm in her reply. Professionalism. 
     I look at the original email. 11 PST. 1 p.m. my time. So two mistakes. First, I read that as 9 a.m. Central time instead of 1 p.m. And second, when I realized the difference, I transmuted the original time from 11 to 9 a.m.. Error upon error. This is why I work in a medium where I can go over and over things, to make sure they're not screwed up. I don't function well in real time.
      We finally do the interview, but I must have been so wound up that I muffed it, because Dan—pretending like the mistake was all his, which is true professionalism—asked me to do it over again. Which I did. By the time we were done, it was about 2:30 p.m. The results, well, you can judge for yourself, once the podcast is posted at 5 a.m. Central Standard Time.
    I think. 
      


7 comments:

  1. Whenever someone tells me that something is being done in a different time zone, I always make sure we're on the same page & confirm the time in Central Time.

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  2. Our home office is in Indianapolis so meeting invites show eastern time even though they go on my calendar correctly. I can't tell you how many meetings I've dialed into early only to discover I'm the only one of n the phone.

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  3. Told my wife the other day, "Sure, this is a good time to call your friend in Korea; it's about 10 or so in the morning." When the friend's voice groggily answered, I realized my estimate was about 3 or 4 hours off. I wonder why my wife doesn't trust my judgment when I'm so much smarter than she is.

    John

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  4. That is one of the reasons the World Clock app on my phone is used so frequently....

    RC

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  5. At least he's not based in Arizona, where they shift back and forth based on not being on Daylight Savings time.

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  6. I've screwed it up so often that now I confirm times using both zones, by writing, eg 11 am PST/ 1 pm CST.
    Also, "perhaps the most significant journalist in America." Really?!? By what measure?

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  7. Lives affected. HIs "It gets better" campaign. The education provided by his columns. And my humble opinion. Who's more significant? Some blowhard at the New York Times? I don't think so.

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