To the Point for 3/30/06


THIS SUNDAY WILL BE WEIRD. After 30 years of watching the rest of the country turn their clocks ahead one hour for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, all of us in Indiana will join in the process this year, as Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels got the measure passed as a means of promoting the state economically.

Throughout my life, I have been one of those people who has benefited from “fast time” and “slow time”.

Growing up in Centerville, Indiana, which is on the Indiana-Ohio line, each summer we watched New Paris and Eaton and Dayton all move their clocks ahead an hour while we stayed the same.

Moving here to Vevay in 1984, I was used to the time difference, but here it was much more pronounced, because there are so many people who work across the Ohio River in Kentucky.

I quickly got into the swing of things, noting who was on “fast time” and who was on “slow time”, and trying not to get them confused.

Switzerland County is a sleepy little place tucked away in the corner of Indiana, so when Daylight Savings Time came in every spring, I was surprised at how big of a celebrity our community became.

We’ve seen national television feeds from downtown Patriot; articles in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. We’ve been a part of broadcasts that has brought us a certain amount of celebrity — and we liked that.

As I’ve written before, I think much of the world thinks that we all wander up and down the streets during the summer, with no one having any idea what time it is.

When we explain to outsiders that it’s actually pretty easy to keep straight once you learn the language, they just shake their heads in confusion.

But that won’t happen anymore, because this Sunday we lose our identity. We become just like everyone else.

Our last little swipe at notoriety came on Tuesday morning, when a television new crew from Louisville came here to do a story on the end of Indiana’s “slow time” history — and the end of Switzerland County’s confusion.

A reporter called the newspaper office from his cell phone, saying that his news crew was on its way to Switzerland County to do an “end of an era” piece. He asked if I could give him some examples of “fast time” and “slow time” incidents here, and after chatting for a few minutes, he asked if he could stop by and talk more.

About an hour later, he walked into the newspaper office with a cameraman and some equipment, and we spent about 15 minutes discussing how Switzerland County has coped all these years with all of this confusion.

He also went to Main Street for some video clips, and then it was on to AJ’s Diner to speak to some of our local folks there.

He said to watch the 6 p.m. news Tuesday night, and — sure enough — there we were in all of our Switzerland County glory.

As the video faded and the anchors moved on to another story, I couldn’t help but think about the end of our era of getting some national publicity once or twice a year.

What do we have now that will bring television news crews here to broadcast? Not only area crews, but national ones?

When will we make the front page of the nation’s most revered newspaper again? When we do, what will it be for?

Usually, small communities get national publicity for bad news, but we’ve been lucky in that we’ve gotten some press for good news. Nobody got tragically killed. Nothing exploded. Nothing burned.

It was a yearly “feel good” story that allowed people around the area and around the country to get a little glimpse of the wonderful life that we all have here. We allowed them in on our secret, and then we pulled it away for our own enjoyment.

That’s not going to happen anymore after we move our clocks early Sunday morning. We’ll all get used to having more daylight in the evening; and we’ll have to watch the 11 p.m. news at 11 p.m. — just like everyone else.

I guess it means that we get to hold onto our wonderful secret — how great it is to live here — for awhile longer.

But here’s hoping that the next time a camera crew rolls into town, it will be for some good and positive news. Because that’s what makes us special.