The time changed last night, and I’ve been setting clocks this morning. I realize that I’ve come full circle.

Once upon a time, we had an electric clock in the kitchen, a wind-up clock on the mantle in the living room, and a wind-up bedside alarm clock. When the time changed, we had to re-set three clocks. (Oh, and maybe a miserable clock in the car that was never remotely close to right anyway.)

Then clocks started proliferating: the range, the microwave, the VCR, the toaster oven, computers, televisions, clock radios, watches, lamp timers, thermostats, sprinkler controllers, home sphygmomanometers, video game systems, cameras, portable air conditioners… So. Many. Clocks. You almost needed to set aside an entire Time Change Day just to get all the clocks synchronized again.

We were rescued by the internet. All those devices that suddenly sprung superflous clocks because there were small, cheap clock chips available now got internet access because there were small, dirt-cheap Wi-Fi chips available. Now all the clocks would set themselves, stay strikingly accurate, and adjust themselves for time changes. But there was a cost.

For reasons both technical (NAT) and economic (surveillance-based advertising) all these devices phoned home to central servers, that then began amassing reams of data about our lives. Yuck.

So I decided to start disconnecting superflously connected devices from the net. Good, but now I’m back to setting a dozen or so clocks whenever the time changes.

I’m fixing the problem by moving to the tropics, where nobody engages in the silliness of asking our clocks to lie to us.

—2p

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