My brain doesn't process time zones. I work for a multinational company, and never can work out who is awake when (which is why I rely on this). Worse still when I’m working out of another office: “When I’m in London, Singapore is eight hours ahead, so now that I’m in San Francisco, they are… er”. Right around the asynchronous changes around the world for Summer Times, I get really stuck. And the 'Universe' knows this, and likes to play tricks on me when I travel.
Example one: When I was in L.A. a few years back, I arranged a 6 a.m. tour of Monument Valley so I could get photos at sunrise. Sounds simple. Except I was in L.A. when I booked it for the following Sunday and didn't realise the U.S. was switching to Summer Time on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Oh, and of course Monument Valley is in Arizona, which doesn't do Summer Time. Except Monument Valley is in the Navajo reservation, where they do do Summer Time. ARGHHHH! Here’s a great explainer YouTube video. (Go to 5:05 to see just how crazy Arizona is for an 'out-of-towner'.)
Example two: I attended SXSW 2012. I decided to add on a drive from Las Vegas to Austin, and en route realised that my fellow travellers and I hit Arizona and Summer Time once again. "So what time do we all need to wake up at?"
Example three: I’m just back from a trip to Israel and Jordan. Israel was still on Summer Time. The West Bank, however, had already switched back to standard. So if your phone sets time automatically and you roam between networks (which is very easy to do on any land border), then suddenly half the group is an hour out from everyone else.
Jordan has an extra trick up its sleeve, as they were (technically) still on 2012’s summertime! Yes, with just three day’s notice, the government decided to not switch back to standard time in October 2012. Then I forgot to change my devices for the hour difference in Jordan, so now both my cameras are an hour out with my GPS logger. Grrrr!
I think what I need is a phone to use GPS to set the time for me. But this seems to still be a pipedream. Once again iOS is almost confused as me when it comes to daylight savings.
Whilst my phone isn’t smart enough to work out what the time is where it is, there is a watch that can perform this feat: the Seiko Astron GPS Watch. However, my excitement was dashed when I discovered that it too is still clueless when it comes to springing forward or falling back the hour. Oh, and the price.
So I look to remain chronologically challenged for a few more years. Or, if we can just entirely forgo the whole Summer Time/Standard Time switch, that would be nice.