It was a four-hour drive from Chicago to the outskirts of Detroit and arriving just after midnight, I was ready for bed.
I had a 9 a.m. meeting that morning, so when I got to my room I went to set the alarm. I noticed that the time was off by an hour. Since we had just gone thorough the spring time change, I tried to change it. There was no buttons to adjust the time. I then noticed it was some kind of Wi-Fi-controlled clock.
In that moment, I had two choices in defining the time. I could trust…
- My blurry-eyed, travel-worn version of time or
- The cheap bedside clock with the “Wi-Fi” logo.
Of course, I went with my version of the time.
That choice got me out of bed an hour late, to the free hotel breakfast buffet minutes after it had closed and to my meeting just barely on time.
It turns out there is a time zone line between Chicago and Detroit. I may have landed in Central Time but now I was in the Eastern Time Zone. The Wi-Fi-controlled clock radio — controlled by the internet, the World Wide Web, by the way — was correct.
We aren’t supposed to trust everything given us by the internet, but the time… Could I not trust the internet for the time? Did I really think that I could do better?
(Disclaimer — This was a few years ago when I did not allow my cell phone to automatically change time zones…messed up the calendar…insert Blackberry joke…and we used nightstand clocks, people)
The point here is not the telephone, use of technology, time zones, travel, tiredness, or nightstand timepieces. The point is control.
Rather than trusting the tiny time clock, I trusted my naïve knowledge of that territory’s time.
It is a small but telling example of the need to read the signs around me and trust what they are telling me. That includes conversations, events, people, attitudes, seasons, movements…and some Wi-Fi enabled devices…reading it all.
This work is not difficult like reading the future, it’s actually as easy as reading the time.