Noon (#atozchallenge)

clock

Noon is 12:00 PM, the exact midpoint of the day as determined by the local time. This begs the question, “how is local time determined?” Good question! There are three components:

  1. World time, also called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Zulu Time (Z), or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). I talked about this during my first A to Z Challenge, and Sisyphus47 has a great discussion about it over at Of Glass and Paper, his blog. The atomic clocks in the world are synchronized so that it’s 1200 UTC (12 noon world time) at solar noon along the Prime Meridian, which passes through Greenwich, England, just outside London. Your computer synchronizes with an atomic clock automatically, provided you’re connected to the Internet and you’ve told the operating system you want to.
  2. Your time zone. There are 25 time zones in the world, roughly 15° longitude apart, except for the two around the International Date Line (they’re 7.5° apart). That’s just a guideline, though; the boundaries of the time zones are shifted to suit borders (state, county, provincial, etc.) within a country, so there are more than 25 time zones. In fact, there are close to 100 time zones worldwide.
  3. Daylight Saving Time (DST), or summer time. This is allegedly a way to make better use of the available daylight. In truth, it’s two times a year when everyone’s circadian rhythms are disrupted. In the US, we set our clocks ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March and set them back one hour on the first Sunday in November.

So, today, where I live, when it’s noon Eastern Daylight Time, it’s 4 PM (1600) world time. My time zone is Eastern US, five hours behind world time (UTC minus 5 hours), and we are on Daylight Saving Time, meaning we have jumped ahead one hour, so that we’re only four hours behind it. Got all that? Good!

Anyway…

Noon, in most of the places I’ve been, is lunchtime. Work stops and you have anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more to eat lunch, go shopping, have a date, etc. They’re more apt to call it “dinnertime” in rural areas, because that’s when they eat the main meal of the day.

When we were kids, most of us went home for lunch. Most kids had moms that didn’t work outside the home, so they would make lunch for the kids. Both my parents worked, so they had a woman come in to clean the house and make our lunch. When we got old enough, we would come home and make our own lunch. We were forbidden from lighting the stove, so we’d have a roast of some kind on Sunday and Mom would cut it up so we could make sandwiches during the week without wielding sharp kitchen knives. Some days we’d make peanut butter sandwiches (with or without jelly), sometimes we’d have breakfast cereal, sometimes we would polish off a full package of cookies and a gallon of milk. We had an hour and fifteen minutes for lunch, which gave us enough time to have lunch and maybe do some homework we “forgot” to do the night before. And we’d watch “Bozo’s Circus,” which every kid in Chicago did at noon time.

Nowadays, kids stay at school all day and eat lunch there. They usually only get 45 minutes for lunch, maybe less. And there’s no Bozo. Kids today are deprived.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

33 thoughts on “Noon (#atozchallenge)”

  1. I wish we could get rid of the time changes. You’re right, they just disrupt our rhythms and serve no real purpose. Plus, we change times on a different week than Europe. Last year we went through a time change in the U.K., then flew home and got to experience another one (in addition to the normal jet lag). Ugh.

    We eat our main meal in the middle of the day because I practice Ayurveda, and this is considered the time when digestion is strongest. We are fortunate to be able to do that…I feel better eating that way. When I still worked, we were always eating sandwiches in a hurry at our desk.

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    1. One year I traveled from Chicago to Cleveland on spring-forward day (last Sunday of April at the time), and couldn’t get to sleep until 2 AM because my body thought it was midnight. When the clock rang at 6 AM and I had to get up, I was a mess.

      Mary and I are starting to eat dinner at 4 or 5, and there are times we have a huge lunch and don’t eat again until the next day. I think it’s better in general that way.

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  2. “Bozo’s Circus” was a great Chicago tradition. I even watched it though I was in junior high. I liked seeing the circus acts and watching The Grand Prize Game. It was such a simple game, but I always wished that I could have been on the show to throw the ping pong balls into the buckets. Life should be so simple now.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Everyone who went home for lunch used to watch Bozo, I think. When I think about it, all of the people on the show had other jobs at WGN; they did it initially because they were told to, but after a few years they seemed to really like it. And it was a good show for local talent: all the circus acts were from the Chicago area.

      I always felt bad for the kids who missed bucket #1…

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  3. Time changes in the UK take place on the last Sunday of March (spring forward) and last Sunday in October (fall back). Correspondingly, the best and worst weekends in my year as I love to see it lighter in the evenings after a long day at work! Lunch is what we soft southerners (as my northern Dad would have it) eat in the middle of the day, whereas he would call it dinner, and at the end of the day he would have ‘tea’, even if it was meat and two veg.

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    1. I’m all for setting the clocks ahead an hour and just leaving them there. We did that a few years ago (in a vain attempt at reducing energy consumption) and we survived.

      Was your father from a rural part of the country?

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  4. I never heard of Bozo’s circus but we had Uncle Bobby:) Kind of a creepy man but it was fun to watch. We had Commander Tom, The Friendly Giant and a couple others:) I hate the time changes. They should do what Saskatchewan does and just don’t change it. I actually could follow the time lines:)

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    1. I have a book called “Hi There, Boys and Girls!” that lists just about all of the kids’ shows across the US. I haven’t looked at it recently, but he might have included some from Canada. When I moved to Atlanta, friends used to tell me about Officer Don, who provided some of the voices on “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast” when it was on Cartoon Network. I wish they had kept some of those for later.

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    1. I don’t think we have any specific requirements for lunch. At one job I had we didn’t get one, but we were supervisors and it was usually pretty easy to go into the office and grab a bite to eat.

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  5. I always went out at lunchtime when I could, to get fresh air, as I worked in an office. A few decades later, I would go for a fast walk or hit the gym that our company had in the building. My sister lives in North Georgia and I’ve visited some nice antique shops there when I’ve visited her.
    You’re right that a lot of rural areas in the south call lunch dinner and dinner is called supper. And then in Paris you don’t eat dinner until 8pm or after. . .a person can adapt. I love daylight saving time, and dislike the dark winter months.

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    1. The training rooms where I used to work were in the basement and none of them had windows, so you wouldn’t know what the weather was like until you left, unless you managed to get out at lunchtime. There was a smoking area on the receiving dock, and we’d go out there. Air wasn’t very fresh, but it was outside.

      I wouldn’t have much trouble with Daylight Saving Time if we just stayed on it all year. They did that about 40 years ago, where we set the clocks forward and they stayed there for over a year, and I noticed non ill effects from it. They did that during World War II, too. You have a couple of months where it’s dark in the morning, but we have that now, anyway…

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  6. Not all kids are deprived. =) Noontime on this Thursday found one child getting ready to go to sleep, because she was up creating original characters for Five Nights at Freddy’s all night (I know this because I was up blogging and plotting for my original characters for a novel until 6, and we were keeping each other company.)

    My son was arranging to have a Skype chat with a fan of the YouTube gaming show he’s been doing with a friend who lives in Pennsylvania…who is also free at noon on a Thursday.

    My Accomplice was on the roof, spreading sealant. He doesn’t leave for work till 1:30 – we keep chef’s hours!

    There are a variety of food options available, whenever they want them.

    I had Captain Kangaroo. My parents had Freddy Freihofer, on the first television station in the world – WRGB in Schenectady.

    My kids wouldn’t like Bozo – clowns creep them out! All costumed characters do, and always have. But, oddly, the animatronic characters in FNAF don’t…but, at a cousin’s Chuck E. Chesse birthday party a few months back, they both ran off to the arcade as soon as the giant mouse showed his nose!

    I don’t have many Santa pictures, and no Easter bunny at all…but I have interesting kids who fill up my noontimes!

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  7. We only had 25 minute lunch ‘hours’ in high school. It was terrible. If you had to go through the lunch line you’d often only end up with 10 minutes to eat. It was worth it for the giant cookies though. So good!

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    1. That was how it was for freshmen and sophomores where I went. There were two periods that were 45 minutes long (other periods were 40) where freshmen and sophomores spent half of it at lunch and the other half in an advisory period. Most advisors just let the kids have all 45 minutes, though, at least after a month or two.

      We didn’t have big cookies… we had pie.

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  8. School all day, lunch at school, but at least we had “Freddie the clown,” until the news shows got greedy. No more 5 o’ clock Freddie!

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    1. I’ve heard that. I’ve also heard that people use more energy during DST, even though it’s supposed to save it, and that farmers can’t stand it, even though it’s justified as a convenience for them.

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    1. I can sort of see the rationale for it, but it’s just so hard to try and get used to it when the clocks are set forward and when they’re set back. We spend eight months of the year on DST; and that almost makes it the standard. Might as well just set the clocks ahead and leave them there.

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  9. In some areas of the world they still go home and have an extended lunch. That was one of my favorite things about my homestay in Spain. I didn’t go back to the house, but our lunchtime was long.

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  10. Time zones always confuse me, but in order to do the Twitter chats I have to tell people what time it is in NY (where I live) so they can figure out what time it will be wherever they are!
    Daylight Savings Time doesn’t bother me, but it’s outlived its usefulness.
    Heather

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