With the ambient awareness of social media, my Istanbul time zone (GMT/UTC +3) was ideally civilized for global interaction. That time zone made me feel competent. I could be dressed, caffeinated, fed and through all my emails before urbane London came online. Yes, I missed happenings in Asia, but I could catch up on the headlines and communicate with foodies and expats and culturalists in the Far East.
Then I'd be at my afternoon best when New York and the East Coast appeared, ready to Twitter-attend their conferences and swoop into their conversations with a European knowing.
I'd be a well-oiled social being at night when early morning California finally showed up, including my editors at the publishing house and family.
The converse was not true, however. When my a.m. Twitter path crossed California, I had out-of-sync exchanges with late-night LA snark which I invariably misread with early morning earnest. No longer. Had to unfollow since who wants to build new relationships on chronic misunderstandings?
Now that I'm back in California (UTC-7) I can't believe how late and lazy and slow the time zone makes me feel.
I marvel at how people from here don't seem to notice the world spun without them. I was once one of these people.
I sense I've missed the day. I've overslept my life. Like a particularly undignified Groundhog Day, I awake to a worldwide sucker punch.
Friends and colleagues in NYC are already well into their conferences and commentary on the day's news, and soon enough they're unwinding with cocktails when I'm needing an afternoon coffee.
By the time I start firing on all cylinders, the world has slipped into a long night.
The empty expanse of the Pacific's never been more palpable since my awareness has become global, and real-time.
Time zones were created to organize the activities of a geographical region. For those of us operating globally, with friends, family, colleagues and other parties of interest scattered around the globe, and with a way to be ambiently aware of them, there is no longer a time zone for social (and work) purposes.