There are 387 time zones on this planet and at least 242 countries, according to one source. And in every one of those time zones people are enjoying tea at some point in their day — which, of course, got me to thinking while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Time zones are amazing things. They are imaginary lines on the globe where it’s an hour earlier or later, depending on which side of the line you happen to be. Imagine living near one of those time zone lines and trying to schedule a tea party. Some of your guests might live on the other side of that line. So your invitation says “Tea time at 4 pm” — but you can’t stop there. Your guest might live in the hour earlier zone and arrive at 3 pm when your cake is just coming out of the oven. Or in the hour later zone and arrive at 5 pm to cold tea in the pot and a cake that has grown hard and stale.
Case in point is South Bend, Indiana. The state has gone through a lot of back and forth on what time zone the state would follow. Finally, in November, 2007, they settled on most of the state being in the Eastern Time Zone with the exception of six counties in the northwestern corner of the state to tie it in with its lumbering urban neighbor, Chicago, and six counties in the southwestern corner of the state. South Bend is in the Eastern time zone. A town a few miles southwest called North Liberty is in the Central time zone. It is quite conceivable that someone living in South Bend would want to host a tea party and invite a friend or two from North Liberty.
Such a situation demands a bit more wording on the invitations:
“Tea time is 4 pm Eastern/3pm Central”
Then, there’s “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” when we reset our clocks ostensibly to save electricity but in truth to cause more confusion for your tea party guests. We set our clocks forward one hour in the Spring and back one hour in the Fall, much to the consternation of farmers, who go more by sun up and sun down anyway. More muddlement ensues when you throw in the fact that most of Arizona, a chunk of the southeastern corner of California, and the states of Hawaii and Alaska do not go through this fuss of clock resetting twice per annum.
So, now our invitation needs to read as follows:
“Tea time is 4 pm Eastern/3pm Central Daylight Savings Time”
By now, after trying to figure all this out and assure the invitations are worded to avoid even a whiff of anything that would result in your guests arriving too early or too late, your tea will be oversteeped in the pot and the cake will be burnt, with smoke wafting from the oven door wherever there is even a tiny opening. Sigh!
Time to stamp out time zones and resetting clocks. They’re just a nuisance when it comes to trying to hold a tea party. And, after all, that’s much more important than worrying about our globe spinning and when it has managed to do a full revolution (24 hours) to make a day. Time to get our priorities in order here (grin).
Well, the kettle is boiling and the tea leaves are waiting in the teapot. Time to join the two together and let it steep!
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