They took a Friday from us. I’m not sure where they put it.
I’m not annoyed. Really, I’m not. Just a bit fuzzified. Changing time zones does that to me at the best of times, as it were, but at least that gain and loss is usually measured in the low single digits, and any imbalance is relatively speedily restored.
But crossing the International Date Line is time-zone trouble writ, not large, but incomprehensible.
Now, in theory, I understand that the date has to jump ahead at some line on the globe. Otherwise, heading west, we’d just keep getting earlier and earlier until we lapped ourselves, with likely unhappy results. Like Sambo tricking the tigers into chasing each other around a tree so furiously they melted into a puddle of butter which his mother then used for pancakes, apparently undeterred by its furry fuzziness.
But theory only takes you so far, and in practice, the date line is just weird. Leaving Canada on a Thursday, we arrive in Australia on a Saturday, having flown for only 15 hours. Friday just disappeared.
Throughout our month-long trip, I don’t inquire too closely into which day’s late-night show we’re watching before breakfast, because the answer makes my head want to explode. I can’t make the time change and the day change make sense at the same time. As it were.
Canadians like to take credit for time zones, but I don’t see us lining up to take credit for the date line, and no wonder. Never mind that the one sort of implies the other. That we also apparently deserve some credit for in-line skates is another story.
Anyway, after four weeks of this date befuddlement we head home, arriving in Canada on the same Saturday morning we left Australia, but a few hours earlier. What’s with that?
Now, even though I don’t know where my Friday went, nor where my extra Saturday came from, I’m thinking that understanding should never get in the way of a business opportunity. There are markets for many things I don’t really understand – think carbon offsets. Heck, think in-line skates. So why can’t there be a market for days gained and lost across the date line?
So if, after your own international travels, you seem to have an extra Friday kicking around, or be missing a Saturday, give me a call. I’m sure we can work something out.
This is the first in a set of reflections
(a ‘series’ sounding altogether too organized for what’s in my head)
on our recent trip to New Zealand and Australia.