Friday, March 19, 2010

Time in our hands

Saturday night was the start of Daylight Savings Time. This meant that we set our clocks forward an hour, which meant we lost an hour, an hour of sleep. I’ve always hated this, and every year I gripe and say I look forward to getting my hour back in the Fall. I even went to bed an hour early on Saturday night, but I still ended up groggy.

I remember one year the beginning of Daylight Savings Time fell on Easter, and I wondered with amusement about all those people who found themselves getting up even earlier - an hour earlier - for sunrise services.

This year, I had at least one more question than usual about this annual time-changing. Why was it on the second Sunday of the month this time? This seemed so random. And who picked it? For as long as I can remember, Daylight Savings Time has started or ended - I get my blessed hour back! - on the first or last Sunday of a month. This any-Sunday stuff really has me going!

Last year, I was away for the first weekend of March, and I completely forgot about Daylight Savings Time starting. If it was not for my friend’s iPhone making a big scene, I would probably have missed meeting on Sunday morning. Someone always forget about the time-change, and this will no doubt happen even more with random Sundays.

Another weird thing is that I seem to be the only person I know who likes Standard Time more than Daylight Savings Time. And, no, this isn’t about the lost hour of sleep. Everyone says they like it when it when it stays light in the evening, that they get depressed when "it gets dark so early." But I like it when it gets dark around dinnertime, like it’s supposed to, although it was a bit much when I lived in London for a year, and it got dark around 4 in the winter.

I think this is really about the weather. I don’t like the long, very hot summer here, and the start of Daylight Savings Time means that it is coming, and the end of Daylight Savings Time means that cool weather is here. Indeed, this week, the temperature has suddenly gone way up, and, although I’ve been enjoying these warm days with clear blue skies, bright green grass and snow-capped mountains not far off, I know that it will get much hotter before long.

Then there’s the whole thing about messing around with time. It has always freaked me out a bit that we can change the universe just by changing our clocks. Is time really that much of a man-made construct? Also, I used to try to get a picture of how all this works, of how changing the clock makes it get dark later or not changing the clock makes me late. And what about states, like Arizona, that don’t change their clocks? Are they off, or are we?

Finally, if the purpose of Daylight Savings Time is to save energy by having it light in the evening, and if we need to save energy so badly, why not have Daylight Savings Time all the time - and stop fooling around with it? Time, that is.

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