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Craig Kanalley

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Olympics 2012: What It Was Like Living on London Time in NYC

Posted: 08/12/2012 6:53 pm

I can sum up the experience in one word: confusing.

As a journalist, covering the London 2012 Summer Olympics from New York City was quite a challenge.

I was far from alone in my efforts. NBC had more than 600 of its own employees covering the Games from New York. There were countless more journalists from other news organizations who did the same.

I was determined to be in sync with London time from the very start of the Games. I knew it would be the easiest and most practical way to make sure I didn't miss out on anything major, manually curating our Olympics Big News page and Olympics Facebook page.

clock So what did I do? I changed all my clocks to London time. My iPhone, my iPad, my computers (both at home and at work) -- everything was five hours ahead.

It all started out swimmingly. I'd get up by 9 or 10 a.m. London time (4 or 5 a.m. New York time). I'd go to work on an uncrowded subway and eerily calm New York streets.

One of the strangest parts -- my meals. Breakfast came at an ungodly hour, my lunch took place around breakfast time (Noon in London was 7 a.m. here), and I ate dinner when my friends at work were eating lunch (5 p.m. in London was noon here).

And then there was the sun. It was so ridiculously confusing to go to sleep while the sun was still up. But that's what I did.

bigben_000_dv1107373 After three or four days, midnight London time really did feel like midnight here to my body. I had adapted, and I didn't even have to experience any jet lag! So by 7 p.m. in New York, I was pretty much done for the day, exhausted, and knew there were no more events going on across the ocean.

Every time I looked at my clocks, and I never realized how often I do look at the clock until I tried this, I told myself that's what time it was. My brain was reinforced over and over until I was in sync and really thought it was that time.

But it became so confusing when I had meetings at work. A meeting was scheduled for Noon. What time was that London time? I had a doctor appointment one day, and they called to confirm a day before. As I was told the time, I thought - OK, now what time is that London time?

My calendar warped to London time but it was still confusing. Because I would have friends come up to me and say hey, want to meet up at 7 tonight? Or, hey, we have that meeting at 2. Or, hey, the men's basketball game is at 4.

alarm clock By the end, I was slipping. As my physical world repeatedly hit me with a signal that was opposite my clocks, I started to go back to the physical world. Not because I wanted to but I couldn't really help it. Too many suns were up at night, I suppose, and too many times I had to schedule things with friends or colleagues. I began falling back to NYC time. Even though my clocks still said London time.

Now that the Olympics are finally concluding, I can go back to NYC time on all my clocks. And the confusion can finally end.

It's been a really interesting experiment, but boy, am I glad to be back on local time again.

 

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