30% of you either can’t count, or don’t know the difference between day and night – or both. Now that you’re insulted, here’s why.
In the picture above, the ‘No Parking’ sign says “from 10 AM to 12 PM.” I know that they mean only for two hours, but the sign takes it from one ‘time zone’ into another, making it seem as if it indicates fourteen.
Let’s start at the bottom. There is no 12 AM or 12 PM! The M stands for meridiem, noon, the split second that the sun is highest in the sky. AM is ante meridiem – before noon. PM is post meridiem – after noon. You can’t have a 12:00 o’clock noon that is before noon, or after noon.
I recently was researching something on Dictionary.com, and came across this statement, “Noon is conventionally expressed as 12 p.m. or 12:00 p.m. and midnight as 12 a.m. or 12:00 a.m.” Some quick research revealed that only 30% of people believe that. Like a bunch of dentists in Reno, it’s not really that big a convention.
I like the Military or Medical way of doing things. With 1200, or 2400, there’s no doubt or confusion. Son Shimoniac sets his wristwatch to 24 Hour time, or he used to, until he decided to get two pocket watches, one for work, one for dress.
No Parking sign painters in NYC used to be part of the 30% wrong-way crowd, until a court challenge proved them wrong – or at least so confusing as to be unenforceable. Signs had to be repainted, indicating noon as ‘noon’ or ‘Nn’, and midnight as ‘Mn.’
Let’s learn to count. Did you start at 1, and end at 12? Actually, you started at zero, and stopped at 12. If 2 follows 1, and 3 follows 2, and 4 follows 3….then 12 follows 11. If 1, and 2, and 3.…and 11 are AM, then 12 is AM too. You don’t start counting at 12, and end at 11. Like the Yin/Yang, you begin with the least, and end with the most. The one chronon – noon (or midnight) – between 12:00 and 00:00 is where AM turns to PM.
I was going to continue with my usual long-winded rant, but it’s like explaining that water is wet. If you still don’t get it, if you don’t understand that 12 comes after 11, not before, I can’t help you. Don’t blame me when you get a parking ticket. Like the band Chicago’s song, 25 or 6 to 4 – Does anybody really know what time it is? 😕