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Last week I tried for the third time to get an interview with an alum we’re featuring in our magazine. She’s a high-level political appointee in the military, and while I was getting quick responses from her scheduler, we couldn’t get anything on the books. Then her scheduler (a major? could that be right?) emailed me suggesting late afternoon that very day. Finally! He gave me the number to call.

…but then. Then I made a mistake of epic stupidity.

Let me backtrack: I grew up in Arizona, so daylight savings time is weird to me. It just doesn’t make sense. Spring back? Fall forward? Why?! I think I read somewhere that the environmental argument regarding electricity usage is overstated or false. And who cares where the sun is in relation to what the clock reads?

Anyhoo. I rely on online time zone converters to tell me what’s what, even for California and Nevada, which are only an hour off from Arizona at certain times of the year. What are those times? Who can say? (Note: I realize my ignorance on this front is uncommon. Most people could say.)

The bottom line is that at ten after one, I was going about my afternoon, taking a little break, contemplating lunch—over which I was planning to review the alum’s bio in advance of the interview – running to the loo, etc. Then I happen to see an email come in from the major.

Ma’am, I am awaiting your call.

What?! Yes. It turns out that D.C. and Arizona are three hours apart right now. Possibly always. How could the time zone converter have led me astray? What faulty info did I feed it to cause this professional lapse?

I called immediately, and in my extreme mortification for being both late and ma’am-ed, struggled to mount a coherent apology/explanation. The major handed me over to his boss without comment. She was really lovely, but I’m stuck on the major and his handling of the event. Ma’am, I am awaiting your call. Could he be an older gent? What young guy writes that sort of thing? It’s a humorless line, but I think that’s why I find it so funny. It’s so dry. He was efficient to the point of brusque on the phone, and I must have struck him as a thorough-going moron, which, let’s be honest, is plausible in light of my willful ignorance vis a vis time zones.


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