When I sit in bed, I can see a battery-powered analog alarm clock, the clock on my VCR, and an AC-powered clock radio. I usually wear my watch to bed, and could set the cable box to display the time, too. It makes me nuts when they all display a different time. More than a minute off and I get to work.
The clock in my car has a button that syncs the time precisely to the nearest hour. I usually listen to the CBS all-news station, and press that button more often that I like to admit to.
In the kitchen, there are three clocks. The one on the microwave is usually right. The analog one over the ovens is not; it loses time whenever we use the oven; the heat buckles the paper on which the hours are printed, which interferes with the hands moving. The mechanical digital clock on the ovens themselves hasn’t been right since we moved into the place eight years ago and I’ve long since given up on it.
(I’ve also given up on my Windows computers’ displaying time with any degree of accuracy. The Mac is rock solid, because it automatically syncs up with Apple’s network clock.)
I like to think that this obsession is rooted in my background in wire services and broadcasting, where seconds really do matter. It may well be true, however, that the obsession led to the background, not vice versa.
All of this is a long-winded introduction to why I’m glad I don’t live in Venezuela. There are many reasons I’m glad I don’t live there, actually; a spectacularly painful and enduring sunburn I got there 27 years ago is one of them. But this reason is especially piquant:
Reuters, through CNN, is reporting that clocks in Venezuela are slowing down. It seems that a water shortage on a major river has caused a shortage of hydroelectrical power. In response, the country’s electrical current is running a few cycles short of a full 60. (Not unlike the grid’s management, it sounds like.) This makes clocks run slower.
By the end of each day, the sluggish time pieces still have another 150 seconds to tick before they catch up to midnight…. “Your computer isn’t affected. Your television isn’t affected. No other devices … just clocks,” [Miguel Lara, general manager of the national power grid] added. The meltdown has taken a total 14 hours and 36 minutes from Venezuela’s clocks over 12 of the past 13 months, he said.