This was written five years ago, when I was going through my bi-annual hissy fit about Daylight Savings Time. I’m not as cranky about it as I used to be but I still think it’s a dumb idea. I thought I’d post it again, since we’re changing the clocks this weekend.
Unless you live in one of those rebellious, up-yours states where they don’t observe Daylight Saving Time, you’ll have to set your clocks back an hour this weekend. I envy those people in Arizona who, some forty years ago, put an end to this nonsense. It might be one nation under God, but it’s also one nation under six agreed upon time zones and I’m fine with leaving that as it is, without tweaking an hour here and there as the impulse fits. Isn’t a Leap Year confusing enough?
As you can see, I’m not a fan of Daylight Saving Time. Who’s saving time anyway? Not me. Time is time, after all. If I could save it, I’d still be twenty-six, not fifty-six (Note: I’m sixty-one now. Where’s the time I saved?).
What people need to do is manage their time better, and let’s face it—a lot of people are horrible at this simple task. It’s really not that difficult to budget time, but you have to be diligent about it. Shifting the clocks ahead in the spring only enables people who can’t seem to figure out what animals know instinctively; when it’s dark, you prepare to rest and when it’s light, you work and play. Switching the clocks back in the fall only makes people mad that it gets dark so early, when in fact, it’s getting dark at more or less the same moment it did before we messed with the clocks.
“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.” Anonymous
On Sunday morning, I’ll wake up around 6:15, as I always do, but I’ll know it isn’t really 6:15. It will be 7:15 but that isn’t the real time either. I’ll have to readjust my circadian rhythm to a different sunrise. Why do we continue this foolishness? In the spring I always spend a week saying things like, “well, it’s not really 9:00, it’s 8:00.” and when the clocks go back to normal time, it’ll be, “Man, look how dark it is … at 4:30.” It’s all so frivolous. Plus it overexcites TV weather forecasters, and they get absolutely ecstatic over raindrops. This can’t be good for their hearts.
In the summer, people talk about how great it is to have daylight until 9:00 pm. Not me. I can squeeze in plenty of activities before the sun sets at its natural, Eastern Time Zone time. Who would care if the sun were to set at 8:00 pm instead of 9:00 pm? What am I doing at night on a weekday where that extra hour is going to matter? Roasting a full sized pig for dinner? Painting landscapes before going to bed? As spring turns into summer, it’s going to be light out for most of the day anyway. On most summer days, there is a good fifteen hours worth of light. If you need more than that, maybe you should consider a move to Svalbard, Norway for the summer.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” William Shakespeare
The amount of sunshine we get in a day doesn’t change because we nudge the clocks ahead in the spring. This is something that was dreamed up by that lazy Ben Franklin, who wanted to sleep later rather than get out of bed when the sun came up. There’s plenty of sunshine in a summer day. Just get up and you’ll see what I mean. The fresh, early morning sun is far better than the waning sun of nighttime anyway. I guarantee you if you get out there at 5:00 in the morning and worked in your garden or went for a walk before work instead of after; your day would be much better for it. Without this arbitrary shuffle of time, it would be nice and light by 4:30 in the morning.
With this willy-nilly extra bit of sunlight at night, I feel guilty if I come in at 7:30 to watch Jeopardy. The sunlight taunts me to do something in the yard or mow some more lawn. I guess I could walk around and talk to my neighbors now that I have all this extra daylight at night. I don’t see hide or hair of them all winter, and now I suppose I could chat it up in the middle of the road at 8:45 pm, but anybody who lives anywhere but Antarctica knows that mosquitoes come out at dusk. The only thing this last hour of forced daylight is doing is offering us up on a dinner plate to these winged carnivores.
The thing I enjoy most about summer is when it’s dark and warm at night. After the relentless sun all day long, it’s nice to sit out after the mosquitoes have gone to bed and enjoy the season. There’s nothing at all quite like sitting outside in the warm darkness while watching fireflies and listening to crickets. With this extra bit of forced daylight, I’m usually asleep before the good nighttime activity begins.
It’s natural to have each day adjust itself unnoticed by a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes at night as the Earth twirls around the sun on its lopsided annual journey. We adjust to it without even knowing we’re doing so. To whisk it ahead or back an hour messes with people. It’s all so forced and artificial.
Cripes, isn’t it bad enough that we have six times zones in one country? There’s Hawaiian Time, Alaskan Time, Pacific Time, Mountain Time, Central Time, and the time that matters most—Eastern Time. Who can keep track? Why do we need to add another layer of confusion? I think it’s time to leave the clocks alone and let me enjoy the fireflies at a reasonable hour during the summer. I’d also like to gradually get used to the darker days of winter without having it slammed in my face by having an hour of light suddenly lopped off my afternoon.
People who are night owls don’t want the sun out anyway, so why are we trying to please them? What about us early risers who want more sun in the morning where it’s supposed to be? You know what Daylight Saving Time people are? They’re anti-morning. They’re morningists.
I think it’s time we pulled the plug on this quaint notion of Daylight Saving Time. It’s time to stop enabling these haters of morning and let the day unfold the way it’s supposed to unfold. After all, if you get drowsy, that’s why they make coffee.