Wednesday, October 30, 2013

setting the clocks

These days, I've been secretly hoping for a blizzard. Okay, maybe not so secretly.  I'll be standing outside in front of my house, in the 80km/h gusting wins, performing a blizzard dance. Willing the skies to bring forth a snow day off work. Engaged in an uneasy stare-down with someone's trashed snowmobile windshield on my lawn, wondering which gust of wind will finally pick it up and hurl it in my face.

Come on, sky.
Give me a blizzard.

But it never happens. We didn't have a snow day for the entire winter last year.  They tell me it's been too cold, and it doesn't actually snow enough. It's too bad. snow days were always fun when we got the day off school, and they're still fun when you get the day off work.

Instead, we get beautiful skies and a lot of strong winds.

"high noon"

There was a power outage the other day. It was a startling reminder at just how unprepared we can be when these things happen, and just how dependent we are on all these artificial things to create a cozy, comfortable, and totally unnatural habitat for ourselves in the middle of the Arctic.  My immediate thoughts were as follows:

Oh well, I can do the dishes by candle light.
Wait, I think we use electricity to pump out the water and keep it heated. 
Maybe we should save the water and not do the dishes.
Maybe I can heat up some dinner.
Wait, I can't heat up dinner.
Wait, we can't keep anything heated at all. Are we going to freeze to death?
I should call someone to ask them what they do to stay warm.
Oh right, the cordless phone needs electricity to work.
I should look this up on the Internet.
Wait, the modem won't work.
I suppose I can just read to pass the time.
It's too dark too read, since the sun is already setting.
I should light some candles.
Where are the candles?

 Luckily, the power wasn't out for too long.   Soon enough, we had electricity again.  The black-out seemed to cause all sorts of chaos with the clocks and electric appliances throughout town though.  Some people complain that their computers, phones, and modems were on the blink. The clocks are all wrong, even after fixing them.  It's all very odd.

Ever since moving up here, even before the power outage, I've noticed the curious phenomenon of the clocks. They're all wrong. They all follow their own time.  Even when you set them again, after a while, all the clocks in the house go back to following their own time, with several minutes' differences. I have no idea what.  My friend theorized that it's because we're so close to the magnetic north pole, and it's got all the clocks bent all whack. I don't understand this theory.

I have another friend who says it's because the entire town runs on dirty diesel power, which is not constant and often goes out in these fits of surges that result on a power supply that is not totally steady.  I don't understand this either, but it seems more likely, perhaps.

Either way, it's a little odd, slipping into my office, noting that my desk phone reads 8:55, my laptop reads 9:02, while my watch says 9:03.  I never thought that I would be Googling "what time is it" so often.

the Bay

This weekend we'll be re-setting our clocks to adjust it to Daylight Savings Time.  I'm not sure what the point is here in Nunavut. It's not like there's much daylight to save. In less than a month, the sun won't be rising above the horizon at all.

the ocean, freezing over