News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 30, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Once again we observe one small step in time

Liz Ciancone
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — My Best Friend and I like to get up early. Naturally, if we are to log the recommended eight hours of sleep, this necessitates an early-to-bed routine.

That said, this messing around with the clock also messes around with nature, and messing around with nature leaves us rising in the dark and waiting for the sun to appear. It doesn’t help to promise a later sunset when sunrise leaves us in the dark this time of year until after 8 a.m. Mother Nature persists in having sunrise at her own time and convenience and that messes up our inner clock.

However, the later sunset will play to our advantage tonight when the world is transfixed by a celebration of the arrival of a brand new calendar year. Mother Nature won’t consult the clock before dropping that crystal ball in Times Square or a gigantic watermelon at a celebration right here in the Wabash Valley. We had to get up in the dark this morning, but if the clock says it’s midnight we can get it over with an hour early, pop the cork and go to bed even though nature knows it is only 11 p.m.

Or, even better, we can agree ahead of celebrating to abide by Greenwich Mean Time, which is seven hours ahead of nature here in Indiana. That would allow us to celebrate at 5 p.m. over an early supper and just go ahead with our regular bedtime — according to our clocks.

I used to think it would be great to celebrate the arrival of a new year out somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where the International Date Line compensates for time zones.

Just think. It would be possible to step over an imaginary line and it would already be tomorrow and we could stifle a yawn and get on with 2014.

I appreciate the need for designating time zones. If we didn’t have them we would have to change our watches every few minutes as we traveled from east to west or west to east. Still, it would be nice to have time coincide more closely with the time the rooster actually crows in the morning.

My BF and I will probably celebrate as usual. Around about 9:30, we will look at each other and one of us will say, “It’s midnight somewhere, let’s go to bed!”

Happy 2014 to all party animals — and to us early risers, too.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.