}

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Time to for the clocks to Autumn back

The clocks changed in New Zealand in the wee small hours of the morning today. Our clocks went back one hour, back to New Zealand Standard Time (NZST). This happens the first Sunday in April every year, of course, and every year it poses the same problem—not that people complain about having trouble adjusting (though they do complain…), but that they have trouble remembering which way the clocks go. It’s all because of one word.

In New Zealand, like many other places, this time of year is called Autumn, not Fall. So, the American mnemonic device, “Spring Ahead, Fall Back” doesn’t work in New Zealand. Sure, most Kiwis know that the word “fall” can be used to mean Autumn (we see a lot of American TV shows and movies, after all), but since it’s not the word used here, it just doesn’t spring, so to speak, immediately to mind.

Being bi-national makes it a little easier for me, I guess, because I’m well aware that the season here is Autumn, and I also grew up using Fall, so the mnemonic device makes sense for me. But every year I have to remind someone of which way we turn our clocks in April. I use the mnemonic device. Sometimes I’m asked, “are your sure?!” I always am.

All of this is insignificant when compared to how much people complain about the changes. Moving the clocks in either direction upsets our light cues, according to WebMD, disrupting our circadian rhythms. They add that moving the clocks ahead in Spring is harder for people to adjust to than moving them back in the Autumn, but in general it takes about one day per hour of time change to adjust. Uh huh. Considering how much people complain about seasonal clock changes, it seems to take more than one day to adjust.

I always used to be one of those people who was never bothered by seasonal clock changes, though I preferred the one in Autumn (that extra hour of sleep…). However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to find those seasonal clock changes harder to adjust to (Spring in particular). Moving countries also made me realise what chaos all these changes, happening at different times of the year in different countries, and not always everywhere in a country, creates. All of which is why I’ve come around to the thinking that it’s time to abolish seasonal clock changes

So, New Zealand’s clocks have now Autumned back. Or, something.

The photo up top is one I took last October for a video I made (below) about the Spring clock change, and time in New Zealand. I also wrote a blog post about that video, and included an annotated transcript.

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