Regular readers of this column know of my long-standing love/hate relationship with that ingenious innovation of modern man called Daylight Savings Time.
This weekend, we will once again conclude the annual practical joke we play on ourselves. DST is a harmless hoax, because we’re all in it together.
For my part, I hate it in the spring, but I love it in the fall...or at least I love or hate the specific nights when it starts and ends each year. That’s because, in the world of Rod-Boy, sleep is king. (Naps are nifty. Snoozing is super-duper. Dozing is dandy. And the Sandman is simply swell.)
I lost an hour of precious sleep in the Springtime… but this weekend, I’ll get it back. A whole extra hour of sleep. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks.
Up until a few years ago, DST was always an April to October occurrence. But the good folks in the United States Congress, realizing they had legislated the only thing in history which actually seemed to work, and was okay with most folks, put their heads together and said, “It ain’t broke… let’s fix it!” “If nearly seven months of DST is working for us,” they wondered, “then wouldn’t nearly eight months work better?”
So we now have our extra hour each day starting in March instead of April, and ending in November instead of October.
Turns out, the end of Savings Time will be right smack dab in the middle of the World Series this year. (The extra hour of sleep will come in very handy for those folks who don’t get enough sleep watching our National Pastime’s most exciting games of the year.)
I was watching Jay Leno a few nights ago, and I saw a comic who apparently shares my fascination with Daylight Savings Time. He did an entire bit on the subject, which puts him in my league, if only in distant second place. (For the record, this past spring, I wrote three different weekly columns on the topic of Daylight Savings Time.)
I didn’t catch the comic’s name, because Leno comes on at 10pm, so, naturally, I was drifting off to sleep. (The mere fact that I was watching Leno makes me old… and old people can go to sleep at 10pm if they want to.) The comic, however, had done some research on the topic, and had determined that, from the beginning of Daylight Savings Time many years ago, if you total all the hours we have saved, we have now saved over 16 years. We ought to start spending some of it, he said. I like the way he thinks.
(It just occurred to me that Jay Leno could be the big winner with the end of Daylight Savings Time, since his new early time slot will all of a sudden be late again!)
As much as I will enjoy the extra hour of sleep, I’m still usually disoriented for a few days each Spring and Fall when the time changes, as I suppose most people are. Consequently, after the November 1st time change, we’re likely to have a nation full of disoriented people two days later… which is ELECTION DAY. Thousands of state and local governments will hold elections on November 3rd. It can’t really be a good idea to disorient the entire population while they’re trying to decide who they want as their leaders. On the other hand, it could explain a lot.
My biggest personal challenge with Daylight Savings Time is being forced to change the time on all the clocks twice a year. Once upon a time, it was much simpler. You just went to each of the three or four clocks in the house, and wound it backward or forward an hour. (When the big hand went around one time, the time was changed by an hour.)
But clocks don’t “wind” anymore. They click. Or blink. Or flash. Or glow. Or reset themselves. But they don’t wind.
And these days, clocks are everywhere. Radio. TV. Computer. Phone. Car. VCR. DVD Player. Microwave. Ink Pens. Alarm System. (And a whole host of newfangled gadgets I see kids with but I’m not sure what they are… but they mostly seem to be called fruit names, like apples and berries.)
Clocks are everywhere, and none of ‘em work the same as the others. You have to figure out how to reset the time on each and every one.
It was hard enough resetting all the clocks when we sprang forward in March and got an extra hour of daylight.
But now I gotta figure out how to set all those clocks in the dark!