austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I don't think there's inherently something wrong in life if you have to wake up at a specific time. There are good reasons you might be unable to sleep in. You might be an astronaut, and have to get up for your launch window, the narrow slice of time a rocket has to not miss its orbital target. There's nothing humans can do about launch windows: they're set by the Department of Transportation of the Vegan Tyranny, and humanity hasn't got the interstellar fleet to cause mischief or new timetables. Or you might be a person who jangles car keys for 100 straight hours to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for making people around you vaguely displeased. It won't do to show up to that late, and I bet the Guinness people want to start early.

If you have to get up at a specific time that usually means you get up when the current time is that specific time. This is why it's popular to have homes along time zone boundaries: by clever placement of the bed one can see that it's now 6:50 (a hypothetical; in fact, it's 3:15, or for you, 12:05, reflecting the deep sales for the holiday shopping season) and roll over to the western side of the bed where it's still 5:50. The location of time zone boundaries has caused two sorts sorts of turmoil, with millionaires, billionaires, and people who were just charismatic persuading officials to move time zone boundaries to fit their bedrooms. In late Victorian times these discussions could be awkward due to the squeamish desire not to admit people had bedrooms, or beds, or rooms, or people.

Time zone manufacturer Charles F Dowd installed special time zones just for the Detroit market, and from 1912 to 1917 there were over 63 time zones in the lower peninsula of Michigan alone. Happy Michiganders and the occasional contented Michigoose could get up on time and no sooner than they wanted by consistently rolling westward, picking up an hour at a time, getting back as much as two and a half days before rolling into Lake Michigan. Even with time lost to hanging themselves on the clothesline it was worth it. Today only people with high-speed beds can achieve such grand results, which is a shame when you consider how much the clothes dryer would do to dry you off.

One way to get up at a specific time if you have a low-speed or manual-transmission bed is an alarm clock, which makes an irritating noise at the designated time, and then nine minutes later when you're in the shower, and then nine minutes after that when you're staring at the kitchen counter trying to remember how bagels work, and then nine minutes after that when you're trying to leave. What it does nine minutes after that no one can say.

There is incidentally a good reason why it's nine minutes and not ten. A ten minute pause would be unremarkable. With a nine minute pause you can someday find yourself talking with your friends about why it's nine minutes, and then you will know you have run out of things to talk about and must meet new people. I mean new to you.

If you don't want to use the alarm clock you can use some tricks to get up on time, for example by considering whether your refrigerator made that noise last night, or if tomorrow you might have to express some opinion about whether something is likely to appear on Belgian television, or whether in the future there will be socks. With considerations like this nagging at your subconscious you can easily wake up ten minutes, fifty minutes, two hours, two and a half hours, three and a half hours, four and a quarter hours, five hours, and six hours ahead of time.

Some people set the television to turn on and wake them up. These people are my parents. They also use the television to go to sleep. I don't know how this works. It might be generational. There are a lot of mysteries in the world.

Trivia: The first chemical compound known to be made with argon was argon fluorohydride, produced by a team lead by University of Helsinki's Markku Räsänen. Source: Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide To The Elements, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: A Short History Of British Expansion, Volume 1, James A Williamson.


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