Yesterday morning I received a heartfelt "Happy Birthday!" on Facebook from a friend in New Zealand. I thought she had the day wrong, but sure enough, it was already January 6 in Auckland. I double-checked here, of course, because I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the International Date Line shenanigans. Likewise, this morning I received a "belated happy birthday" wish from a friend in Tokyo. But... but... it's still my birthday where I am. So is it really my birthday?
See what I mean?
Straddling just the simple 6-hour time difference between the U.S. East Coast and Paris is challenge enough for for some folks. It can cause Parisian phones to ring in the wee hours with calls from otherwise considerate American friends who counted backwards instead of forwards. Or did they count forwards instead of backwards? Never mind. But that is why I installed the nifty clock on my blog that tells the current time in Paris. And for an added twist, there is the fact that the US and France spring forward and fall back at different times, so that for a few weeks each year there is only a 5-hour time spread. Love that Daylight Saving; keeps me on my toes.
But it's nothing compared with mentally crossing the International Date Line. I once asked an Australian reader of this blog what the time difference was between Sydney and Paris. His response: "I think it's, like, 27 hours." Whoaaaaa. Take that plan into orbit. But he is not alone. Take this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the International Date Line.
The International Date Line can cause confusion among airline travelers. The most troublesome situation usually occurs with short journeys from west to east. To travel from Tonga to Samoa by air, for example, takes approximately two hours but involves crossing the International Date Line, causing passengers to arrive the day before they left.Whenever I try to keep the east-to-west, west-to-east notion straight, in my mind's eye I picture the globe slowly spinning at the opening of "As the World Turns."
I'm not sure this is a help. The show just got cancelled.
image via wikipedia