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Don’t Ask Me What Time It Is

Our house has roughly six or seven clocks in it. That doesn’t count wristwatches and the clocks in our cars. No two clocks will tell you the same time. You are better off phoning a friend or looking at the position of the sun in the sky if you want a precise time of day when you are in my home.

I showed my daughter how to change the clock in the van. I told her to change it anywhere from four to seven minutes ahead and not tell me how many. Now, unless I yell out the window at some unsuspecting stranger, I have no idea what time it really is and have to rely on the clock. Yet, I am still usually late to things anyway. I call it my Defective Arrival Time Gene. No one buys that.

I used to tell the children that the reason it was one time in one room and a different time in another room was that the rooms were in different time zones. Just slightly off. For a little while they thought that was super cool to think they had more than one time zone in their house. Now, they think I was horrible to tell them such things. (I still think it was funny!)

I am sure you are thinking the same thing that everyone else says when they hear this: “If you know it is off, you really are not tricking yourself, are you? Or are you just that stupid?” No, I am not really that stupid. Not really. With every clock in the house off by a few minutes, I truly have no idea what time it actually is. I have to go by the one that is closest to making me late.

Oh, but it gets worse. I got a cell phone that synchs with some magical clock in the atmosphere that will set my cell phone to the correct time. I did not ask for that. They just do it “as a service” to their users. So, I called up my provider one day.

“Is it possible to change the time on my cell phone?”

She replied, “Well, good news! You don’t have to! It is automatically synchs to be correct!” (Yes, she was just that cheerful.)

“I realize this,” I sighed. “I just want to know if I can tell it not to listen to the magical clock in the sky and let me be the one to tell it what time it is.”

She was silent for a moment. I had obviously veered off of the script she had for when people called in with stupid questions.

After a moment she replied, “But you don’t have to! It automatically sets your phone to the correct time!”

“Listen. I get that most people think that is a great thing. I mean, if I were normal I probably would as well. However, my cell phone is making me late every where I go now. When I see what time it is, I don’t believe it and low and behold it was right and I am late. I just want to change the time. Can I do that?”

She had no idea what to do with me. She tried to tell me how great it was to have an accurate clock without worrying about it slowing down or speeding up without my knowing it. (I bet she is also someone who is always on time, too!)

I finally gave up.

I set my phone to military time to see if that would make me ignore the “correct” time. It didn’t work. My master plan to never be late again failed miserably. I cannot trick myself when I have a clock that actually knows the correct time. So, I punish it by not looking at it.

Now? Now, I am trying to figure out how to speed up the magical clock in the sky by four to seven minutes without anyone finding out about it. In the meantime, if I am late meeting you somewhere, please cut me some slack. My cell phone was actually correct and made me late.

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