I was very pleased. Very. Because nothing upsets me more than tardiness, and nothing was more common than tardiness when one man wound by the sun dial and another by the clock over the Cheese. Then there was St Mary’s bell which was always off. It was obnoxious, but really not as obnoxious as the time before clocks.
As for how it revolutionized the world…I don’t hold with that. It changed culture, in that suddenly people weren’t moving /through/ time but /in/ time. That changed business, it changed the concepts of etiquette and so forth. It changed how things were measured.
I’ll tell you what really chafed. Time zones. I always talk about this but I swear to you it happened. I could not wrap my head around time zones. All my life, there’d been no reason to care. The only way to contact someone was to write a letter or send a messenger, and the messenger traveled through time. So you see, all time was contiguous. If it was night for you writing the letter, it was night for the person you were writing, for all intents and purposes. Then all of a sudden…we can message IN time, and suddenly, I in a place where it was day, could speak to someone for whom it was night, and it made no bloody sense. There was no travel fast enough to make time zones matter, and then suddenly there was… I couldn’t believe it.
I had to sit there with a globe and a candle and think through it. Of course it made sense then, but even so…it was what they call a “mind-blowing” experience. Especially when I realized it had been this way all along. That for me, when I was in London, writing to my contacts in Philadelphia by candle light, it was daylight for them.
So strange. For me that was the beginning of true scientific spirit and inquiry.