Monday, July 12, 2010

nocturnal chronognosia

I wake up nightly to perform human-wastewater-relief duties (HWRD). (With that acronym, you can tell I do a lot of technical editing in the environmental field.) Typically two to three times per night. Could be more, could be less. Rare not to obey nature's mandates at least once nightly. But here's the strange thing. I walk into the bathroom with a guess in my head as to what time it is. Then I look up at the clock. (If I am extremely tired or have retired very late, I just don't look at the clock. It would freak me out too much to see how little I have slept.) Get this: invariably my guess of the time is accurate to within a few minutes! Oh, sometimes I'm off, maybe even by as much as an hour, but that's rare.

I have termed this phenomenon nocturnal chronognosia.

(Do I have the same uncanny ability during the day? Do I have diurnal chronognosia? I'd have to forgo the wearing or consulting of wristwatches, etc. to find out. Somehow diurnal chronognosia just does not seem as interesting.)




Mark Murphy said...


I think I might have the diurnal version. Quite a few times, when I'm out and about, and wondering whether I'm running late or on time, I hazard a guess as to what time it is, then look at my watch, and I'm pretty close.

I attribute this to the many years I spent in the slot (or in the backshop), having to meet five or six deadlines a night. I got to the point where my inner sense of time pretty much jibed with what the newsroom clocks were saying.

(Unless, of course, it was the Sunday after a savings-time change and the maintenance folks hadn't gotten around to adjusting the clocks....)

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

How timely, Marcus Aurelius.

J.W. said...

How lucky I am to sleep through my neediness!