To the Point for 10/27/2005


THIS IS IT. After all of these years, this is the last, absolutely final, column that I will write about “fast time” and “slow time”.

This Sunday morning, Daylight Savings Time will officially end and all of those people who observe “fast time” will move their clocks back one hour.

Normally, Sunday begins a time of calm in this area, as everyone goes on the same time. There’s no chance of showing up an hour late or an hour early, and we all spend the winter a little more relaxed and secure.

But in the past years, the coming of Spring has meant that the peace of Winter gives way to the chaos of Daylight Savings Time. Some county residents move their clocks ahead an hour, while others leave the hands alone. It is the beginning of what we have come to adjust to — while people living outside our area look at us and try and see how we survive the summer.

As of Sunday, it won’t be that way anymore.

This Sunday, Daylight Savings Time will cease for the year; and when it reappears in the spring of 2006, Switzerland County will join most of the rest of the state of Indiana by beginning the tradition of adjusting our clocks, too.

In many ways it’s the end of an era here. Perhaps not as epic as the coming of the riverboat casino, but the end of “slow time” here in Switzerland County marks the end of what has been our best marketing campaign in county history.

The difference between “fast time” and “slow time” here in Switzerland County has brought regional and national television programs here. No other event, not the building of Belterra or our annual festival, has ever put “Good Morning America” television crews in the middle of downtown Patriot.

Each year regional broadcasts are done from locations all around the county, and with those broadcasts comes free publicity for this community and the people and the businesses who are located here.

I’ve shared before in this column the story about my participation in a radio broadcast that originated from Rockford, Illinois. At that time a man by the name of Mike Wick ran the radio station; and we spent about an hour on a conference call with the radio deejay discussing the time differences.

It was hard for the radio announcer to believe that it was one time at the radio station; and it was an hour earlier in our newspaper office — and that those two offices were only a couple of blocks apart.

After we finished the discussion, the host allowed listeners to call in and ask us questions. That’s when the real fun began.

Caller after caller tried and find some sense in what was going on in Switzerland County. They spoke with Mike and me as if we were from some other world. Finally, we all just agreed to disagree.

It was a confusing night, but I’m sure that the next morning in offices all around Rockford, people were talking about that county in the southeast corner of Indiana that has two times at the same time.

A famous politician once said that, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

Our time difference got this county publicity. From articles in the New York Times to water cooler conversation, our time difference made us unique — and people talked about it.

As a member of the Hoosier State Press Association’s board of directors, I have traveled all over the state for various functions. At every one of them, when I’ve told someone that I am from Switzerland County, they always answer, “I’ve heard of there, that’s where the time’s all messed up.”

I take that opportunity to tell them that time isn’t really messed up here, and that we adjust very well to talking about “fast time” and “slow time”, and most of the time they give me that strange look that you’ve all seen when you’ve tried to explain it to someone.

They may have been a little confused — but they knew where we were located, all because of “fast” and “slow” time.

It was inevitable that this day would come. At some point some state administrator would decide that it was time to do away with this foolishness and change our clocks like everyone else.

When Belterra arrived and began to observe Daylight Savings Time, the writing was on the proverbial wall that this entire county would observe “fast time”, too, when Governor Mitch Daniels announced that he wanted the whole state to switch clocks.

So here we are, just a couple of days from the end of what will be the final “fast time” and “slow time” debate in this county’s history.

It’s been something that has been good and bad for this county, and it’s been something that I’ve had the chance to write about over the years.

But not anymore.

It’s over. Finished. Done.