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11:29 p.m. - August 29, 2005
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? Not Here They Don't
I love this town. I’m glad I moved back, as I said here. I love my state. I’m proud to be a Hoosier. And no, I’m not on goofy drugs.

We’re a friendly sort, and while I like visiting the city I know that once in a while I’ll need to experience the country – see the corn and soybeans. I do draw the line at pigs, though. In college, once dated a girl who lived on a pig farm, and the aroma rather much killed the romance.

Even our big city, Indianapolis, is more like a small town with some urban areas in the downtown. (Actually, it’s becoming more and more strip-mall central all around the edges of the city, which I am growing to loathe and despise. I get depressed when I can’t see any traces of local color when I travel.) Indianapolis could be anytown, USA. Well, anytown with a big freakin’ race track in the middle of it.

Indiana does have its issues, though. Sure, the state budget is a mess, and there are a lot of meth labs everywhere. (Smell what’s cookin’ in the trunk!) However, I come here to speak of matters more important than that. I do believe Indiana is in still stuck in the 1950’s (or before) when it comes to two matters of law.

Now, some people may have read that in the State of Indiana, there is a law that says pi is officially valued at 4. Not 3.14159… Not even 3 – 4. But while that is inane, it doesn’t bother me. I didn’t mind being a scofflaw in trig class in high school – I relished it. Illicit cosines, illegal tangents (well, most of my writing has several illegal tangents, like this one), co-conspiratory cosecants. Heee!

Also, I have been told that it is illegal to sell a car to someone on Sunday here in Indiana. All of our car dealerships are closed that day. Which strikes me as odd, as when do people have time to look for a car nowadays??? The weekend, that’s when. So if this is a law, it’s pretty silly. (I frankly don’t recall if car dealerships in other states were open on Sunday, but I still think it’s inane to dictate that they be closed).

What I want to discuss today are two matters of great import: time and beer.

As many of you know, Indiana has not followed Daylight Savings Time for many years. Except for a few counties around Cincinnati and Louisville (which DO go on daylight time) and the part of the state currently in the Central Time Zone (around Chicago), we’re on Eastern Standard Time the whole year round.

So that’s New York time, right?

Nope, not during daylight savings time. Right now, New York is an hour ahead of us. But in late October, when the rest of the country ‘falls back’ – we’ll be on New York time, as they’ll be back on Eastern Standard Time.

So for half the year we’re on New York time and half the year we’re on Chicago time. So most of the time people from out of state can’t figure out what time we’re on. Conference calls are set up – meetings are planned – and sometimes they’re all bungled up because people assume we’re on Chicago time, or New York time. Plus people call at your lunch hour trying to reach you before your lunch hour. People call after you left work trying to reach you before you left work.

Hell, I’d rather be on Newfoundland time all year round (1 ˝, that’s right, 1 ˝ hours ahead of New York. Why 1 ˝? Who knows? I never got a straight answer.)

And some people don’t see this as a problem. “Why should we change our clocks for them?” they say. “It will affect how the cows give milk,” say others. I’m not kidding. I guess cows in Indiana aren’t as bright as cows in Wisconsin. Those cows can adjust to DST. Ours are just too dopy…or being coy with all their mooing.

However, last year in the Governor’s race, both candidates, let me emphasize that, BOTH CANDIDATES said they wanted to get the state on Daylight Savings Time.

Well, the victor and his party introduced that into the Statehouse, and it passed. But all along there were letters to the editor stating how they didn’t want Daylight Savings Time at all and were shocked and stunned when it was passed.

Again, both candidates stated they wanted Daylight Savings Time. They stated it often, and very plainly. I distinctly recall this. It was not a campaign issue because both candidates agreed, and you know that’s a rarity.

So now we have DST, and it will take effect next year. So what time zone will we be in? I, for one, believe we should be on Central time, with Chicago. It just seems to make more sense, especially for kids going to and from school. They won’t wait for the school bus in the dark that often. However, the safety of children be damned, because the golf course owners want Eastern time.

They want it so that people can play 9 or 18 holes after work easily, so they can ignore the family on the golf course before going home and ignoring the family at home.

Indiana had to petition the Department of Transportation in order to set hearings to see what time zone made sense for Indiana. The response?

Let each county decide what time zone they want to be in. The county commissioners of each county shall decide as to what county that county should be placed in.

Each county???


Now that’s just nuts. Small town county commissioners that have ulterior motives can recommend their county be placed on Eastern time when all of the surrounding counties will be placed in Central time.

Is this any way to run a damn railroad?? (And can the railroads be run on time??)

Obviously, what is going to happen is that most of the state will align with Indianapolis on whatever they time decide to follow. But still, the idea of having a rogue county on a different time is alarming. Actually, it would be wild if they decide they want to be on Hawaii time instead. That would crack me up. “It’s 5:00 in Lafayette, and noon in Fowler!”

So, we are, indeed, the Land Time Forgot.

And this leads us into beer. Why? Because I need to drink to forget about the damn time issue.

If I’m at the gas station / convenience store – in many states I can get some cold beer while I am shopping. Not in Indiana, it’s illegal to buy cold beer anywhere but a liquor store. You can buy warm beer in grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations, but not a cold six pack. Sorry, Charlie.

I’ve been to Utah, and I saw cold beer in a convenience store being sold THERE. But not here.

And on Sunday, if I was out of beer or wine, I couldn’t buy it anywhere. It’s illegal to sell beer or wine on a Sunday in a store. All the liquor stores are closed. And if your local watering hole doesn’t have special dispensation (i.e. they don’t serve a lot of food), then forget it – it’s closed on Sunday, too. There’s no carryout on Sunday, either, at bars. So all of the brew pubs that sell their wonderful wares to take home cannot sell you take out beer on Sunday.

Now, I know that we, as humans, don’t need access to alcohol 24/7/365. It doesn’t seem right, however, to deny a poor soul who forgot to stock up for the NFL, or spaced out getting wine for a dinner party, the right to purchase those items simply because it’s a day of rest.

Hell, that’s what I want to DO! Rest! Sit my butt on the couch, crack open an oil can of Fosters and sit back and watch Cro-Magnons run into each other and score touchdowns! (Of course, this is after I do my responsible parenting for the day. Now Katie, Kristin – you’re rooting for the team wearing blue. They’re called the Colts!)(Katie has known the touchdown signal for almost 2 years now. I feel so proud…sniff…..)

But to this day, you can’t buy it on a Sunday. And woe is he or she who moves in from out of state, and does not know the law. Shame and ridicule await them at the check out line, where Darlene or Amber will have to say, “Sorry, can’t buy that today!”

So those of you in the urbane, sophisticated states of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Ohio, you may mock us at your will. Because on any given Sunday, you can go to get a cold case of beer if friends drop over unexpectedly to watch the big game, you can go and get some wine if you want an impromptu gathering with the neighbors under the shade tree. And you will always know what time it is, and what time it is relative to Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and St. Louis. However, we can’t. Because we’re lame.

Perhaps it’s because our calculations are all off in this state and it’s affecting our common sense. After all, pi IS 4.


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