It’s October now, time for falling leaves, fresh apple cider and an extra hour of sleep when we move our clocks back. Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait a bit on the clock thing. I looked into this and found that we do not go back from Daylight Savings time to Standard time until November 1st this year. Then I did a little more math. Do you realize that we are now on “regular” time for only 4 months a year? Neither did I. And the question I have now is “Why bother?”
I realize that living in Indiana has made me a little more sensitive to this issue than it is for most. Did I say sensitive? I think I meant irritable. For a long time, we eschewed Daylight Savings time and stayed on Standard time year around. Why we were the rubes while Arizona and Hawaii (that followed the same practice) were not is a matter for another time. I think the bigger problem for us is that we also happen to be near a time-zone boundary, which makes the issue a little stickier here. Neither the Eastern nor the Central time zone is a perfect fit for us. And we know, because we actually have tried them both.
But enough of that, because my issue is with Daylight Savings time and how we are going to deal with it. I will confess a bias here – I have long thought that if nobody had come up with the idea until now, and one of us said “Hey everyone, I have a great idea! Howabout we all move our clocks, all at once, and pretend that it is a different time? Wouldn’t that be fun?” I suspect that we would be confused with a story in The Onion pretty quickly.
But because Benjamin Franklin supposedly came up with the idea, it’s better? He also came up with the idea to make himself a human lightning rod, so not all of his ideas were so brilliant. And if it was such a great idea, why did nobody try it seriously until World War I?
OK, I get it – everyone loves the idea and I should just shut up about it and get with the program. Which, as I understand it, was to make the days longer from late spring to early fall. That, as I count, is about six months out of the year. Half a year on for the golfers, half a year off for the rest of us. Not an unreasonable way to approach the whole thing if we are going to do it.
But eight months on Daylight Savings and only four months off? Why not just save daylight all year around? Some say that it saves energy, so why not save more of it? But what about the little kiddos that have to walk to school in the dark in the middle of winter? Oh let’s get off this – we live in a world where no 21st century parent lets the kids out of eyesight, but instead drives them to the bus stop where they wait at idle for the bus. I think that the youngsters can make it from Mom’s warm Suburban to a bus stop ten yards away, especially with the aid of the dozen pair of halogen headlights flooding the area.
Or what about a compromise. Let’s move our clocks back thirty minutes this fall and then leave them there. Isn’t this a compromise that everyone can live with? If it’s good enough for North Korea (that recently announced it’s own time zone that is thirty minutes off from the old one) why isn’t it good enough for the rest of us? We could call it Daylight Standard time. I’m copyrighting this, so that when everyone sees the brilliance of this plan I will become quite rich.
Really, isn’t the present plan something akin to a big science experiment? “Let’s screw up everyone’s circadian rhythms by one direction in the spring and by another direction in the fall and watch how the poor confused things cope.” At least some of us were once lucky enough to be the control group, but I guess the experiment was a success, because here we are. Wherever “here” is.
You don’t like my thirty minute solution? How about we do something gradual like add a minute a day starting in the spring, then subtract a minute a day after the summer solstice? Nice and gradual, nobody would even notice it. And since everybody uses their cell phones to tell time, it would be the easiest of all, too, because all of the cell carriers can follow the little gray-bearded man in the funny hat who is the official keeper of time somewhere.
Or, we could get really radical and skip time zones altogether. We only got them because of the big railroads, and look where they are now. We have completely given up on the concept that noon is when the sun is right overhead anyhow, so let’s go with maximum efficiency instead. We can all just go with Greenwich Mean Time and be done with it. Think of it – you can have your 1:00 p.m. meeting with the German Division of your company at 1:00 for everyone! Sure, some people might have to get used to it being dark most of the day, but isn’t it time for those poor beleaguered night shift workers to catch a break? And think of the drop in crime where it is a bright day in the middle of the night.
Alright, I get that none of you is crazy about that last idea (unless you live in Greenwich). But really, can’t we just pick a time and go with it? I am really over the argument, and don’t really care what time we pick. You pick whatever time you want it to be, and I will be fine with it, really. But no, we are going to move our clocks in a few weeks, and will move them back again eight months later. But I give you fair warning, I will simply not listen to any kvetching about dark mornings now and early sunsets later. I just won’t. I will be a good soldier and go along, but nobody says I have to be happy about it. And if you think I’m bad now, just wait until next spring when I am looking at the prospect of losing an hour of sleep again.