by Kevin Depew
This past weekend, due to the end of Daylight Savings Time, many of us set our clocks ahead one hour, which proved to be foolish because apparently we were supposed to set them back one hour, but that is beside the point. What is important is that we, as a civilized society, embraced this change. We seized the opportunity to screw around with time. This is a good thing.
Some have recently argued against Daylight Savings Time, even going so far as to propose reducing the number of time zones in America to two from four1. I have a better plan. Instead of reducing the number of time zones, let’s increase them. To nineteen. Nineteen time zones, separated by nine minutes.
Horizontal Time: A Tribute To America’s Past And Future
Before you immediately agree to this obvious plan and begin changing your clocks, let me explain how it would work. Our map illustrates the new nineteen U.S. time zones. They are separated by nine minutes each, more or less. Under my plan, after you get past Chicago (Angry Time), the time zones start to become more intuitive because they subdivide horizontally rather than vertically. Driving from Montana to Arizona is like metaphorically going back in time, only literally. Because you will actually be going back in time. By nine minutes for every time zone. Also, as you can see, the new time zones will have really cool names.
Naturally, the first question is: Why does this map look so shitty? Please, just try to focus on the time zones.2 Beginning with the top right northern-most section of the map, note that Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are now on Syrup Time, which should be completely obvious.
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut will fall under Ye Olde Shoppe Time, a tribute to that region’s rich history of having lots of stores called Ye Olde Shoppes everywhere. Sometimes the S’s are even spelled like F’s.
Note that Indiana does not have a time zone. No one really knows why. Hey, it’s a free country and if you don’t want to have a time zone that’s your decision.
The New York City tri-state area pretty much has its own time zone because the people there are very, very selfish. City Time will lose a minute every day because the pace is just… whatever. People hurry around all the time, push each other to get on the subway and yell stuff at each other and there is another train right behind this one. One minute away. Look, you can actually see it! The next train is right there. It’s right there! And it’s not even crowded. Why do you have to push yourself onto this one? Wait one minute. Wait just one fucking minute! But no one ever does. So New Yorkers lose one minute a day. That means a week from today 7:53 will actually be 7:46. That’s a half an hour a month just gone. An entire day-and-a-half every year just vanishes. Good job. I hope you’re happy.
Some might point out: I’m confused. This map seems completely random, almost as if the time zones were drawn by a five year old. This confusion is understandable because the time zones were, in fact, drawn by my five-year-old daughter, so I think we can all agree that these are actually pretty good time zones for someone who is five and that the Twilight Sparkle time zone (Louisiana, of course!) is the prettiest.
How Easy Will This Be For Everyone? So Easy
Another obvious question is: Wouldn’t this plan create a weird class of “Timey People” who can somehow quickly and amazingly calculate the time between all the seemingly-randomly-drawn time zones? Come on. The answer is of course it would. If it’s 1:54 in City Time, then clearly it’s 1:33 in Angry Time, 1:02 in Piney Time and only 12:48 in Hey Time, right? I know this because I am one of the Timey People. Poor, non-Timey People. What good are your fancy wristwatches now?
Obviously, under this new time zone system, a key concern is, What time does the Super Bowl start?3 The answer is 9 p.m. Under the new system, everything starts at 9. By the way, good luck getting a dinner reservation at 9 because that’s when everything starts. Your OpenTable reservation will have to be for either 5:30 or 10:30 like everyone else. We will still meet for dinner at 9, of course, because everything starts at 9, but it will really be either 5:30 or 10:30. Only the stars eat at “real 9.”
A Key To Your Exciting New Time Zones
• Syrup Time — Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire. Boringly obvious.
• Ye Olde Shoppe Time — Connecticut, Maffachufettf, Rhode Ifland.
• City Time — Tri-state area. A bunch of selfish jerks.
• Itchy Time — The rest of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, both Virginias. Christ, I get itchy just thinking about those states.
• High Time — Ohio and Michigan. I am not a cop.
• Elvis Time — The cool parts of Tennessee, like Nashville and Memphis, and pretty much all of Mississippi and Alabama.
• Wrasslin’ Time — Kentucky, the sad half of Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas.
• Penal Time — Florida.
“Why penal time, man?”
“Is it because of my brother? Cause he’s on parole now.”
“No, it’s just, look: it’s the state. Like, the shape of it. It’s sort of a pun.”
“I hate puns.”
• Twilight Sparkle Time — Louisiana by Lulu.
• Angry Time — Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, pretty much what you’d expect.
• Piney Time — Heavily pine-infested areas in what I believe may be Colorado.
• Cornpone Time — Nebraska mostly. Also South Dakota, I guess?
• Walleye Time — Minnesota, Wisconsin. Just think about it.
• Fringe Time — All the states at the top past Minnesota. Basically what we privately refer to as the Canada states.
• Cow Time — On the map you’ll see this large region and be like, “Yep, that’s pretty much Cow Time alright.”
• Old Timey Time — Arizona, parts of the Old West where it’s like deserty and most of the towns are old timey towns.
• Hammer Time™ — Everyone should say Hammer Time like the guy in that song, “It’s 9 p.m. hammahtiiime.” That way you are giving out important time information in a whimsical way.
• Craggy Time — I don’t even know what the names of these states are, except Las Vegas.
• Hey Time — Quick, based on this conversation, guess where I am?
“You hit any traffic?”
“Just the usual.”
1. Wow, so there are actually nine time zones in the U.S. I looked it up and was very surprised. I mean, I would have guessed six. For the purposes of this article, however, I went with four because two of what I assumed were the six U.S. time zones are in Hawaii and Alaska and those are not really states, but vacations. I have never actually even met anyone who is from Alaska. I know they had that crazy gun nut governor who ran for president or whatever a few years back but was she really even from Alaska? Like from from Alaska? I doubt it. I would guess Minnesota or maybe Wisconsin. Walleye Time, right?
2. Due to the proliferation of increasingly affordable and sometimes even free design software after about 2002 or so, the standards for internet design began to rapidly increase, rendering much of what is now created on the fly (which, let’s be fair, when I say “on the fly” I am talking about what was for me several hours of painstaking work) by those of us who don’t know anything about design just absolutely horrible. I actually thought about using one of those outsourcing services where you pay a child in India like 47 cents to make something that looks really good, but in the end I just didn’t have the stomach for it and figured why not give my own five- year-old a chance?
3. The “What time does the Super Bowl start” thing is just a stupid search engine optimization (SEO) reference. SEO is how people used to drive traffic to their web sites. The Huffington Post, among others, at one point really were able to use SEO to seemingly get out ahead of the curve and drive massive traffic to their internet articles, most of which were more like placeholders, i.e. nothing more than an obvious headline someone might type into a search engine, the most famous example was probably the “What time does the super bowl start?” article which was nothing more than the question for the headline and “6:45 p.m.” in the body of the article along with a bunch of related keywords like Super Bowl, Nachos, beer, etc. etc. Also, are you seriously reading these footnotes? Because I thought no one ever does that anymore, especially on the Internet, but if you are, email me?
Kevin Depew is a writer and editor living in New York City. He is available in all the usual locations.