I saw the following sentence in Time magazine’s (December 3) article titled “Betraying physical book: A book lover’s e-dilemma:
“When electronic books first came out, I embraced them wholeheartedly. In fact, I was one of the first to buy Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader the second it was available.”
Is “the second” used adverbially? What is the function of ‘the second’ as a part of speech in this instance? Is it common to drop a preposition (in or at) before ‘the second (minute, moment, or instant)’ in expressing simultaneity?