Remembering a simpler time

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (stljewishlight.com/laura).  She owns The Paper Trail of St. Louis, a financial and legal concierge service. Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

For the most part, I have embraced technology. I like having answers at my fingertips, shopping online, paying my bills electronically, keeping up with my friends. I prefer that my calendar is with me at all times or that I can send an email from anywhere. Technology has been an improvement in my life. Except for one area—the clock. 

In theory I should have embraced it — the idea of everyone functioning on the exact same clock — but in reality, I don’t like “Apple Standard Time.”  It feels too programmed for me. Aldous Huxley would be proud.  

Remember a life where clocks differed by a couple of minutes and it was okay? You would meet a friend for lunch and she might be two minutes late and it was alright. You would order an iced tea. You didn’t tap your foot impatiently and keep glancing at your phone. You waited and she showed up. It wasn’t a big deal. 

Years ago, my husband and I coined a term for our understood grace period. We called it “RCCD” time — Reasonable Clocks Can Differ. We acknowledged that we didn’t have to arrive to meet each other at precisely the same moment. We had clocks and they could vary. He would sometimes be two minutes early. I could be two minutes late. My iced tea was waiting for me. It was nice.

Now, however, everything is tied into the World Clock. My iPhone and car are perfectly in sync. One morning last spring, I sat outside my children’s school after dropping them off and watched as the clock in my car turned to 8:55. Precisely at that same moment, I heard their school bell ring. I almost shed a tear.

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I miss my RCCD world, but I know it isn’t coming back. My kids will never know a world where a few minutes give or take is acceptable. They’ll only know one time with no variation, no forgiveness.

Apparently, reasonable clocks can’t differ anymore.