how can you live in one time zone and work in another?
July 28, 2008 12:21 PM   Subscribe

While driving from Kentucky to Virginia over the weekend we crossed from the Central to the Eastern time zones and it started my family wondering what it's like to live in one time zone and work a few miles away in another.

So this is really just a curiosity question to find out if anyone is in that situation and how difficult it is to cope. Do you wear two watches? Do you have to constantly think about what you are doing and when? Is it a good excuse for being late to work or does that wear out real quick? How about more practical things like cell phones - when do your evening minutes kick in?

I really didn't have an answer for any of these as I've never even thought about it before, so maybe you can collectively answer my kids questions.
posted by 543DoublePlay to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer to most of your questions, but your cell phone evening minutes kick in when it's that hour wherever you happen to be. I had an Atlanta number on my cell phone when I went to school in Houston, and my evening minutes started when it was 9 p.m. in Houston, not 9 p.m. in Atlanta (which was 8 p.m. in Houston).

I don't know what would happen if you started a phone call in the time zone where it was already evening and traveled to the other time zone while you were talking.
posted by capsizing at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2008

I spent many years living on the border of Indiana Michigan, living in both states and working in both states. For only half the year they were 1 hour different which made it even more confusing. Recognizing that it is relative, the act of getting up earlier living in Indiana to work in Michigan was harder than doing the other way, but I prefer to sleep late. I kept my watch on work time. Home time was run by the clock on the wall. It was necessary to do constant mental time shifting when living in Michigan as most of the retail and entertainment was in Indiana and so movie times etc had to be thought out. Living in Indiana working in Michigan while difficult for getting up did allow for more daylight after work in that the day ended an hour earlier than it would working in Indiana.
That said it's more work than not changing and it does become second nature.
What I never got used to was living on Long Island at the eastern end of the eastern time zone after many yeas of the western end of the eastern time zone. The sun was never in the right place and in the winter it set about 1pm, or so it seemed.
posted by mss at 1:09 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Search around for recent stories about this from Indiana. They've always had a problem with different counties using / not using daylight saving time and/or wanting to be in Central vs. Eastern time. They recently tried to fix this by legislating the use of DST. Unfortunately they did not further specify which time zone everybody had to be in. With the change in DST observation, a bunch of counties switched time zones, some switched back, etc, etc, etc.

I'm sure you can find entertaining stories. I know my sister in law missed a doctor's appointment even though it was just down the road, etc.
posted by madmethods at 1:11 PM on July 28, 2008

Well, for one thing, you may run into issues with synchronizing your phone's calendar.
posted by qvtqht at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2008

I have family that lives in North Florida near the Central/Eastern timezone split, living in Central and working in Eastern.

Most of them live on 'fast time' all the time. It's easier to adjust to doing things on 'slow time' when they're not at work.

Television is really interesting too. No shows are duplicated that close together but all the local programming during the week after the 'local' news is unique. From their location they can receive stations from Tallahassee, Fl and Columbus, Ga (both eastern) and Dothan, Al and Panama City, Fl (both on central).

But after a while you really don't think about it much and automatically adjust. Although getting to a doctor appointment is sometimes interesting! :)

posted by sandpine at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2008

capsizing writes "I don't know what would happen if you started a phone call in the time zone where it was already evening and traveled to the other time zone while you were talking."

Phone service bills depending on the time the call starts (or at least mine does). I used to game this in my LDR by calling my now wife at 6:58 when I had free long distance (evenings till 7AM), having her answer then just set the phone down off the cradle. We go have a shower, get breakfast etc. and then have a hour or so conversation starting at 8:30ish.
posted by Mitheral at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

I live in Atlanta and work for a company in California. Their hours are 9 AM - 6 PM, so in order to sync up exactly, I would need to work 12 PM - 9 PM. Those hours kind of suck, however, so I just work 9 - 6 Eastern time. I work for a few hours before they get in, and I sign off at 3 PM their time.

It's not that big of a deal, usually.
posted by designbot at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2008

I live in Indiana. It's still 1959 here.
posted by pjern at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2008 [4 favorites]

I used to work with someone who commuted about 30 min from Indiana to Ohio. So in the summer his house and family were an hour behind work and colleagues. It meant he got up an hour earlier because he lost an hour in his morning commute. And it meant he gained an hour on the commute home, which he saw as the payoff. But it seemed to suck generally. I think he kept his watch on Indiana time. He may have tried two watches for a little while but it was just more confusing? Either that or he considered it for awhile and decided against it, I forget which. I think it was easier to think of himself as always on Indiana time and of work as being an hour off.
posted by Tehanu at 3:20 PM on July 28, 2008

Oh god does it suck! I lived with my grandad in Indiana the year after I graduated and worked for my cousin in the next county and time zone over about a 30 minute commute each way. That means to get to work by 6:00 AM I had to leave home at 4:30 AM. On the plus side, I got an extra hour in the evening after work, but of course, that meant little since I'd be getting up at 3:30 the next morning to head in anyway.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:11 PM on July 28, 2008

I live in Chicago, and spent a weekend in Louisville during the summer. I loved it! The sun rose around 6:30 and didn't go down until nearly 10.

The time is just a number- there are still pretty much 24 hours in a day no matter what the clock says. I'm pretty sure it works out.
posted by gjc at 6:17 PM on July 28, 2008

I'm doing it today, actually, as I am sleeping in the Eastern Time part of KY, and working in Central in the morning. I feel that it would be a decent way to live, cause I'm not an early bird, and if I could get up at 8AM to work at 8AM, I'd enjoy life. So what I wouldn't get home until 5:30. I stay up late anyway.
posted by deezil at 7:14 PM on July 28, 2008

Actually it never really bothered me. I no longer work in a different time zone tho so I'm in that tiny corner of NW Indiana that's on Chicago time year round.

When the rest of Indiana decided a couple of years ago to go to a time-changing system, one or two towns in the next county over just decided "screw it, we don't care, we're keeping things the way they are." There was mass confusion for a few weeks.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:25 PM on July 28, 2008

I live near a time zone line. I find that it is necessary, when scheduling appointments and events, to specify "ET" and "CT" in order to ensure that there is no confusion.

It gets really interesting in the spring and fall, when the clocks change. If you happen to be traveling in the north woods at 2 am on that fateful Saturday night in the fall, going from Central to Eastern time, and someone outside the car is watching you, he will see you disappear from the face of the earth for one hour, then reappear and continue on your way.

If you are traveling in the opposite direction at that time, you will meet yourself coming the other way.
posted by yclipse at 7:59 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

« Older My walls suck.   |   Freezer food. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.