Time zones… If I have a Kryptonite, they’re it.
I have such a hard time converting other people’s time zones into my own, and I have to do it all the time. You’d think it would be easy. Eastern Time, add two hours. Central Time, add an hour. Pacific Time, subtract an hour.
I am constantly setting up times for telephone calls or interviews with people around the country. As I’ve been working with people in the publishing world while working on my book, I’ve also had to talk to a lot of folks in New York City, so I’m getting pretty good at converting Eastern Time. If a conference call is setup for 2pm, I know that I need to be ready for it at noon. If I’m trying to decide if it’s too late to call a business on the East coast, I’ve come to know that 3:30 is pretty much the cut-off time.
But… HOLY SMOKES… you move me one time zone over and I get all messed up! The other day I was emailing back and forth with the representative of a lunchmeat company about a possible partnership. She asked if we could speak on the phone, and I told her sure. She told me 1pm. She was in Chicago. I set an alarm on my phone to go off fifteen minutes before 2 pm, my time. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang two hours before I was expecting it to ring. The thing is, I was SO sure I did it right that time. I thought about it really hard before putting it into my alarm. After I put it in, I thought about it really hard again. And I still got it wrong.
A few days before that I setup a phone call with the online publicist for Universal Pictures. She was stationed over in Los Angeles and wanted to talk to me about attending that Hop press junket. We agreed to talk at 10 am. Just as I did with the lunchmeat company, I thought really hard about it before entering it into my calendar. I crunched the numbers several times in my brain. Pacific Time… that’s plus one. So, I set my alarm to go off fifteen minutes before 9 am. I waited by the phone when the hour rolled over and… nothing. Fifteen minutes later… nothing. I went back and looked through our emails to make sure I got the time right. 10 am. Why wasn’t she calling? Oh, crap. It’s minus one. I still had almost two hours to go. Sure enough, she called me at 11 am my time. Right. on. the. dot.
The worst is when I mix up Pacific Time with Eastern Time. Somehow I do that once in a while, and I end up waking up WAY earlier than I wanted to or ever would have to in order to get ready for whatever it is I have coming. By the time I figure out my screw-up, it’s too late to go back to sleep. Those are the times when my neighbors are most likely to hear me curse like a sailor.
The funny thing is, the time zone I have the least trouble with is England, where my brother lives. Plus seven hours. It’s simple, and it’s never hard to do that math.
Anybody else have this problem, or is it just me? Just yesterday I was on the phone with people in three different time zones. I about wanted to shoot myself by the end of the day because I messed up on all three of them.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing