LET’S ADD FOUR HOURS TO THE DAY

28/7

0107109f0e8eb99995b5edad795a17baI often think about and hear the phrase, “If only there were more hours in the day.” So I’ve put that wish to deep thought, in hopes of parodying our go-getter, can’t-stop-won’t-stop culture. For those of you who read the New Yorker, this is my own version of Shouts and Murmurs. Tread lightly.

Due to the increasing workload and constraints of time on the general population, the United Nations has decided to implement a worldwide addition of four hours (240 minutes) to each day. This means the phrase “24/7″ will be abolished and replaced with “28/7.”

Because the earth’s rotation of the sun will still remain at 24 hours per cycle (we, of course, do not currently have control of that), citizens will have to become accustomed to completely ignoring what we now consider normal sunshine hours. For example, the first day of the 28-hour day, the day will technically end at what we now consider 4 a.m. This will be the new midnight, or 14:00 a.m. Therefore, if one goes to sleep at the new midnight and gets five hours of sleep, they will wake up at 5 a.m. new time, or 9 a.m. old time. Essentially, citizens will need to toss out the idea that they will rise when the sun comes up and sleep when it goes down. Daylight hours will change every day. To accommodate this, it is recommended that citizens invest in blackout curtains or a sleeping mask to prevent light from interrupting sleep.

Yes, this new system will greatly disrupt the natural rhythms of all people, places and things. But our hope is that the positives will outweigh the negatives, and that productivity  will increase while sleep deprivation decreases. If each citizen can get eight hours of sleep a night, they will have 20 hours in the day to be productive.

The value of weeks, months, seasons and years will also be compromised. But do not fret: we have a highly skilled team of scientists and environmentalists working on getting this sorted out. We will send out an additional email notification as soon as we come to a decision. Due to our early implementation of the 28-hour day, this should come very soon.

We realize this will have a great effect on every living member of this planet. But we wanted to especially assuage a few key industries who will be especially affected by this new daily structure.

To the timepiece industry: Mandatory recalls will be put in place by all timepieces that do not meet the 28-hour day time frame. This will apply every timepiece, excluding cell phones and other devices that can update over the air.

To the lighting industry: Because it will often be dark when it is, in fact, daytime, areas with significant amounts of people required to be outside must install lighting systems in order for activities to run as they would in the sunshine. This will call for an initial increase in production on your part. But never fear. You’ve got four more hours in the day.

To the beach resorts: we recommend that you discourage your guests from using the beach during the dark hours of day and night. This is to ensure guest safety, and not meant to detract from business or pleasure. We ask that you also strictly follow the 28-hour day policy, and not let guests onto beaches when it is sunny at night. We hope that an accidental positive to this rule will be less instances of skin cancer.

To the farmers: hold tight, and keep doing what you do. We are still finalizing an updated farming schedule for the new 28-hour day.

In order to prevent utter chaos, we ask that you refrain from filing any complaints or sending any displeased letters, emails, tweets or texts our way. We strongly believe that, with time, every citizen will be pleased with our decision to add to the day.

We are sorry to impose such a complicated daily schedule for citizens of the world, but and we have argued continuously over the benefits and disadvantages of creating the 28-hour day. In the end, we hope these amendments can be made efficiently. After all, there are four more hours in a day.

THINGS SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES DIFFICULT

c53dcf43dc6e5af75d88ba81f1d4c36bSometimes it’s hard to be connected all the time. Here’s a list of whines and woes I often encounter when using social media.

Friendship status: Being friends with someone in real life is different than being friends with someone online. Often, these worlds collide. What do you do when you see someone you’re friends with online but not in person? (Don’t lie, you know this has happened.) Say hello? Ignore? What is the lesser of these evils?

Terminology: Have you ever explained the concept of a hashtag to an adult? It’s neither easy nor fun. Despite their initial beliefs, hashtags are not just a seldom used button on telephones. #firstworldpains

Dinner table conversations: This foible applies to all forms of portable technology. Long recorded are the familial woes of distracted children using phones and iPads at the dinner table. This translates to millennials as well. Leaving a cellular device in a purse or pocket for 45 minutes of tech-free eating and chatter? Near impossible.

Walking: Due to the perpetual home of my phone being in my hand, people, poles, parking meters and buildings become increasingly easy to run into.

General productivity: Why make money, clean your house or do homework when you can look at cat pictures or see what Kim K is up to?

Taking pictures: Tasks, outings and meals take significantly longer when you’re trying to snap the perfect picture to put on social media. If it’s not on Instagram, did it ever even happen?

Going to sleep: Bright backlight aside, nothing is so stimulating when you’re laying in bed as an endless Twitter feed. Seven hours of sleep quickly becomes six.

Phone death: Keeping a phone alive, AKA maintaing contact with the modern world, is hard when you’ve got to check Twitter, Instagram and Facebook every hour.

Hand joint health: Scroll, swipe, tap. Is the widespread malady of this generation going to be carpal tunnel?

BOREDOM BANNED

Does boredom still exist?

boredFrom the moment I turn off my iPhone’s alarm (for probably the third or fourth time that morning), my attention is being wrestled for. The various apps almost seem to wink at me from their square homes, vying for the quick press of my thumb. What first? By the time I get out of bed and into the shower, my battery is at 80 percent

It’s incredibly exhausting, the competition for my attention. It’s like the new puppy you come home to, jumping on your shins as if to say, “Look at me, look at me! Now!” Time is a commodity I’ve found to be more and more precious as I’ve gotten older. 

On a whim that quickly ended in regret, I deleted all the social media apps on my phone. I’ve never been so bored. Sitting in class before the professor walks in, waiting for a takeout order, what am I supposed to do if not scroll through endless feeds, to see what the world is up to?

Which leads to another question: does entertaining oneself even happen nowadays?

I remember being bored as a child, often a product of a sticky summer afternoon when it was too hot to go to the pool. I wonder how  many times I said to my poor mother that I was bored. But this boredom fostered the ultimate creativity. Nothing to do today? No problem, let’s set up a fort with bed sheets on the bed and pretend with our American Girl dolls to be stranded in a crashed train car during the Civil War. Or perhaps an elaborate boulevard full of Barbies is more appropriate. But maybe it’s a better idea to drink orange juice with a few lumps of sugar while pretending to host Justin Timberlake on a talk show.

Now, I say I don’t believe in boredom. I have a large stack of magazines, more than 100 items in my Netflix and Hulu queues, dozens of online shopping sites bookmarked, and every book at my fingertips thanks to the Kindle app on my iPad. (How annoying do I sound?)

So OK, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all (Clueless, anyone?), but I’m a bit worried for the future of creativity. Yes, new ideas are being generated all the time, but such immediate access to ideas leads to many copycats. Which, let’s be real, seeing the same thing over and over again is quite a bore. I’m aware I just iterated that I don’t exactly believe in boredom anymore, so let me be more clear in the previous statement. We are never bored, but often unfazed. Water bottles cause cancer? But of course! Riots in Egypt? No surprises there.

The undercurrent of this whole musing is something that is probably the most thought about question in current times and in history: what will the future bring?