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Left Coast / Right Coast: Another new decade

Well, far be it from me to “rain on our parade” right off the bat. But I must point out that it really isn’t the start of the next decade, at least not yet. My reasoning? It’s simple math (Math 101). The very first year was year one, not year zero. So when you count to ten (a decade), the highest number ends in a zero.
Mike Gold living the dream in the Pacific Northwest. Photo credit: Frank Hammer.

By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."

Well, far be it from me to “rain on our parade” right off the bat. But I must point out that it really isn’t the start of the next decade, at least not yet. My reasoning?

It’s simple math (Math 101). The very first year was year one, not year zero. So when you count to ten (a decade), the highest number ends in a zero. The first decade was years one to ten. So our current decade, which began in year 2011 actually ends in year 2020.

In fact, many people made the same argument for the start of this millennium. As the “90s” actually didn’t end until the year 2000. I don’t recall any major arguments back 20 years ago when this occurred. Besides, a large majority of people simply took the year 2000 to be the start of the new millennium.

I do recall staying up all night as the clock turned past midnight as everyone in my computer company doing customer support was convinced the world was going to end with the Y2K fiasco. And funny, we didn’t get a single support phone call that entire night. People spent a lot of money “preparing” for the apocalypse which never happened.

So, once we get past this, what do we all have to look forward to. First of all, (yay!), auto emissions testing ended today. State of Washington was unique (to me) in that the semi-annual inspection for emissions was all they tested. In every other state we’ve lived in, if there was an annual inspection, they actually inspected the entire car.

Things like lights that didn’t work were simply not looked at here, clearly damaged or cracked windshields also. (I’ve wondered what would have happened if I had driven my car in for the emissions test and the entire windshield was missing. Would anything have happened?)

In many parts of the rest of the world, these things are taken seriously. I was out one night in Germany and my host had a headlight out. We were stopped by the police and until he fixed the light, we were not allowed to drive that car.

These days, as was the case in Europe then, the headlights use actual bulbs, rather than the entire “sealed beam” unit – which included most of the headlight assembly. A real PITA to change. On that night in Germany, my friend had a spare bulb in the glove compartment. He just had to plug the replacement in and we were on our way. (In addition to the headlight, as it was nighttime, the police gave us all a good looking over – to see if there was any indication of intoxication which is a definite “no-no” in most of Europe.)

Daylight Savings Time: There is a movement in this state to do away with this bi-annual change. Two states already operate on one time standard the year round as well as some U.S. territories.

This made a lot more sense when we were a much more agrarian country. The idea being to give farmers an extra hour of daylight at the start of the day. Frankly, in our quite modern electronic based home, it takes me over an hour to re-synchronize all the clocks.

One doesn’t realize just how many of them there are. In our home, besides a half dozen alarm clocks and our heating system, we have to re-set the refrigerator, the microwave, the outside night lighting, our sprinkler system, and easily a half dozen others.

Fortunately, some of these modern time-based systems automatically re-set themselves. Our master bathroom heated floor is one. One of our two cars does it, one doesn’t. Anything connected to the internet is automatic (all our computers, our cable service), but all our wristwatches are not. Just to make this even more complicated, my main watch has a date setting. So when I “set back” the watch, I actually have to set it back 24 hours in order for the date setting to be correct.

Lastly, all the holidays which are date based (ex. Christmas, New Years) fall when they fall. However, other holidays which used to be date based (ex. President’s Day), have been moved to create three day weekends.

My observation to all this is that life was much simpler when humans simply reacted to the day, not the arbitrary settings of date and time. Just watch your cat or dog. See if they acknowledge the bi-annual time change.

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