This weekend I started my first log haul trip of the year. A week in Boston with SimpliVity and the VTUG Winter Warmer. As you probably know, travel allows lots of idle time to think. One of the things I have been thinking about is how changing time zones changes how we describe things. Not the usual jet lag and sleep deprivation, but the results of crossing the dateline.
You see at 12:00 pm on Saturday, January 16th I arrived at Auckland airport after the three hours shuttle journey from home. Then 21 hours later, at 12:00 pm on Saturday, January 16th, I checked into a hotel at San Francisco airport after a much delayed 12-hour flight.
This oddity of being in two very different places at the same time on the same date is well known to people who fly from the western pacific to the United States. My travelling friends in Australia will be nodding along, as will those who have travelled between Japan and the US. It has a counterpart when you leave the US and fly west, you completely miss a day.
So my first question was how to refer to the extra long day? You see I’d spent my first Saturday 16th in New Zealand. Had breakfast at home, lunch at the airport and dinner on the plane. The flight delay gave me 5 hours in the Air New Zealand lounge, quite a productive writing time. After watching a movie, I went to sleep and had a good seven hours.
My second Saturday 16th was in San Francisco, where I had a layover before my connection to Boston. I had breakfast on the plane, lunch at Super Duper and dinner at the hotel. While I was in SF I was talking to my wife about what happened while I was at Auckland airport. It didn’t feel right to refer to that as yestoday because it was still Saturday the 16th to me. So since the date was the same for 45 hours, how to refer to the first part? I think that yestoday is the best name. It refers to yesterday but acknowledges that it is still the same date. Now if only my phone wouldn’t autocorrect to yesterday I would be happy.
But what about on the way back? I will fly out of Houston on Friday 22nd and land in Auckland on Sunday the 24th. I will never see Friday the 23rd. So when I get home and talk to my family about what they did the day before I arrive how will I refer to that day? Yesterday to me will refer to Thursday. How about calling that day Notoday? Since, for me, there will be no day when it is Saturday January 23rd in 2016 for me. Just another update to autocorrect and we will all have clarity around what to call each day as we cross the date line.
© 2016, Alastair. All rights reserved.