Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Time for a Lesson

This morning I was woken up by Peter's buzzing phone at 5:15 from an East Coast caller. His call was an honest mistake because he thought he was calling Peter in Maryland. It brought to mind, however, how many calls we have received at early hours from people who either can’t figure out the time difference or don’t care. I have heard people tell me time and again that they can never remember if the West Coast is ahead by three hours or behind by three hours. Answer: we are BEHIND by three hours.
East Coast - 3 = West Coast. Always.

Even the most academically challenged student can tell you that the sun rises in the east. That means that when it peaks into your window on the East Coast, we on the West Coast are still in darkness. I, for one, am still asleep. I also don’t take well to being woken up at 4 am by someone who is calling early even for the East Coast. And then, when the time difference is recognized, the caller continues to chat. So let’s learn a few things here.

The sun appears to be coming to the East Coast from Europe or the Atlantic. It will visit us later because we are a little behind. That’s why time zones were invented. Not everyone can be in the sun at the same time. Countries like China may think they make things easier by only having one time zone, but think of the consequences of a very early or very late sunrise/sunset. Time zones are a good thing. And before you start whining about how difficult it is, be thankful that we don’t have ½ hour or ¼ hour time zones like some places in the world.

Do what you need to do to keep it straight. Here are a few ideas: the East Coast was settled first and gets the sun first, the left coast is the last coast, and, if all else fails, I’m sure there’s an app for that. To help you get started, go to

If you’re still in doubt, wait until a time of day where adding or subtracting three hours won’t make much difference and then call.

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