miðvikudagur, nóvember 16, 2005

can't rock the body without the body clock

It's been getting darker and darker here over the past month or so, and because Iceland's chosen time zone is well east of us, most of the darkness is shifted to the morning hours. (We're on year-round Greenwich Mean Time, but Greenwich is a ways east of here, so it's like being on year round Daylight Saving Time. More light in the evenings, less in the mornings.) I was prepared for this descent into darkness from going through it last fall, or so I thought, but that first morning of a pitch-black 7 a.m. can still feel pretty bone-wearying.

Today the sunrise happened just now, at 9:59 a.m. and it didn't even start to look the least bit light until well after 8 a.m. Civil twilight began around 9. All of these numbers mean basically that we're always driving to work in the dark this time of year, and watching the sky get light from behind our desks as we're on our second or third cup of coffee. It can be awfully hard to get out of bed to face hours more darkness.

Enter technology to solve the fara-á-fætur issue. A whole year ago, one faithful and proxy-filtering Iceland Report reader suggested to me that I get "one of those sun-clocks". I dismissed it as a load of Hammacher-Schlemmer hocus pocus. But after a particularly gruelling morning a few weeks back, E and I decided to look into it. Thousands of krónur and one Royal Air U.K. parcel later, we have a Lumie body clock. The clock theoretically works by starting a sunrise 15-90 minutes before your alarm time, thus waking you up by tricking you into thinking it's not hellishly black just outside the window. We unpacked the clock last night, played with all of its zany settings, figured out the alarm, and went to bed using the artificial sunset to lull us to sleep.

Or we think we figured out the alarm. I had a vague dream this morning about a sunrise coming through the window. But when I woke up at the designated time, the room was pitch-black. Over breakfast, I played with the clock some more and got it to work as expected. But then it started acting like a possessed demon, chirping its backup chirp, switching the light on and off arbitrarily, snoozing, and lighting itself up again. Maybe the goal is to use utter luminal and sonic confusion to trick us awake. If so, it works. The jury's still out.


Blogger JB said...

I brought the alarm-clock package into work yesterday after picking it up at the post office. Now, I have heard from many sources that Icelanders are too "tough" to need anything foofy like this lighted alarm clock to wake in the winter. Handling the winter darkness is in their genes, they say. "Bah, winter! No problem!" seems to be the attitude. But no sooner had I set the box down on my desk than I was swarmed by curious coworkers. The parade continued all day long. Seems that the Icelandic love of new things in boxes trumps the stoic winter resolve any day.


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