If you’ve never given much thought to the time zone that you live in, you’ve probably never lived outside of the east coast (Eastern Standard Time, or EST, is the de facto U.S. time zone, almost half the population lives in this time zone).
Prior to moving back to Texas (and my beloved Central Standard Time, or CST) earlier this year, I lived in Georgia for over 4.5 years. When I complained to my fiancé about how much I hated living in EST she looked at me as if I was crazy.
My argument was simple: in CST, prime time was from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. You’d get home from work, make/eat dinner, and by the time you knew it, it’d be time for your favorite shows. However on the east coast, prime time goes from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. So, not only do you have to wait an extra hour to watch your shows, you have to stay up later to watch them. (I recently asked my fiancée if she liked the CST schedule. She said she did because, “Revenge comes on earlier.”)
Time zones were officially adopted worldwide in 1884 at the International Prime Meridian Conference. The idea to standardize time came from the scheduling nightmare for railroad companies in the late 19th century. Since then, the U.S. has adopted four time zones on the mainland, with Arizona and parts of Indiana jumping between two time zones (neither recognizes Daylight Savings Time).
Throughout my travels across the U.S., I began to realize the greatness of CST. Mountain and Pacific Time have similar prime time hours, but they can only do this because they air shows hours after they’ve aired on the east coast. So, if you have a show you like to watch, you pretty much have to abstain from social media to avoid potential spoilers from your friends further east.
Sports, on the other hand, can’t really be rescheduled to accommodate viewers in certain time zones. This means that 1 p.m. NFL kickoffs happen at ten in the morning on the west coast. How can you fully enjoy the NFL if you’re just barely waking up? Or what about keeping up with the NBA playoff games? Many west coast games start at 10:30 p.m. EST, which means they won’t end until after 1 a.m. on the east coast.
If this entire piece sounds like a first world problem, you are 100 percent right. It could always be worse, like in Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez decided it’d be great to move the entire country’s time zone a half hour back. Or in China, a country that spans five geographical time zones but operates on one standard time (imagine the sun setting at 3 p.m.).
Still, whenever I think that I have too much time to on my hands to think about these things (which I don’t), I come across people that have thought about this a lot more than I have. At the very least, I can take comfort in the fact that my fellow CST peeps (30 percent of the population) have been nodding their head as they read my irrelevant argument (wait I live in CST, what am I complaining about?).