A window to the future

Time zones are a funny thing. We know that every day is 24 hours (and a bit) long, but globally, every date lasts something nearer to 37 hours.

I was told a story on Saturday of a couple in Australia who needed to finalise paperwork before the end of a certain date in order to save their business. Midnight came and went and the day was officially over. At least it was in Australia. They realised that if they finalised the paperwork, faxed it to London, had it officially stamped there and submitted from the UK, it would buy them an extra 12 or 13 hours. They did it and it saved their business.

So Saturday began early. Really early. I got up at 5am to prepare pancakes for two girls who were coming over to watch with me, via Skype, the wedding speeches of our NZ friend, Sarah. We would be joining them 6am our time, 7pm their time. The Skype connection was made. Outside the window of my flat the ground was icy, the temperature hovering around minus two, and it was dark. Through the screen of the laptop we could see another world – there, people were wearing strappy little tops and sporting sunburn. It was clearly warm and bright and stayed bright as the evening wore on. They had had a full day of preparations and celebrations. We had yet to start our day.

It was a very strange experience, seeing into what is essentially the future.

We saw the bridesmaids give a speech, spoke to the bride and groom, had a good look at her dress, heard the groom and bride’s speeches, with great clarity, as if we were actually there and not huddled together in dark midwinter in London.

Would this have been possible ten years ago? I think not. And I became more and more amazed at how privileged we are to have the technology to join with friends in celebrating, regardless of dates, time zones, continents, oceans and thousands of miles.

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