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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Daylight Saving Time – One Hour Can Change Everything

First appeared on Blogcritics.

time 1 I don’t know about you, but I got up on the wrong side of the bed today. Lulled into the thought of getting an extra hour of sleep because of the time change (clocks went back 1 hour at 2 a.m. on November 2nd), I stayed up late watching a Rambo marathon on AMC (in each movie Stallone gets one soliloquy that is worth watching the rest of the film to see). Well this morning – very early no matter what the “real” time may have been – my son saw daylight and was up and ready for action. This was 6:30 a.m. (but should have been 7:30) – so that hour really changes everything and then some.

From the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November, we are caught up in what is known as Daylight Saving Time. Initially conceived as a nascent concept by the great Benjamin Franklin (I wish he would have stuck to writing almanacs and flying kites), DST actually came into use in the United States during World War I but was stopped in 1919. Then in 1966 the Uniform Time Act was passed, but states could opt out if they wished. It wasn’t until George W. Bush got the bright idea to save more energy in 2007 that he expanded the months of DST to what we have today.

The problem is that after being on one “time” for eight months, we are thrust into a different one, making us all time travelers whether we like it or not. This extra hour comes at a cost – this early daylight will mean that nighttime comes earlier. As we move into December it starts getting dark before 5 p.m. For me this feels like the day is lost because the darkness is symbolic for the end of the daily cycle. I have been going to work in the dark for weeks, and now I’ll be coming home in the dark. What is worse? I guess it affects each individual differently, but I believe this shortchanges me. I don’t like coming home in darkness. It is annoying that my children will want the Christmas lights to click on as soon as it gets dark – and burn well into the night. Bah humbug! And they won’t go to bed any earlier either.

Of course, the worst part of the scenario is that this hour gained is “lost” in March. I heard all these people laughing about getting an extra hour of sleep yesterday (which didn’t happen for me), but don’t these fools realize that hour will be given up in March? If this day makes me Sleepy, the one in March definitely makes me Grumpy. Then I really feel as if the whole system is working against me in some nefarious plot out of a sci-fi novel where they steal time.

time 2I’d like to run away to someplace that doesn’t observe DST, but 70 countries around the world also observe DST – many of which would be places that I’d like to go to live if not for that. Hawaii and Arizona do not observe DST, as well as American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Guam. All of these present possible places for relocation, but then I would have to adapt to being a New Yorker living elsewhere (how could this Mets fan walk around in his blue and orange cap with all those Diamondback fans around?).

No, I suppose I will have to suffer with DST just as I do every year. Right now I am all off kilter, and will force myself to eat lunch and dinner at the usual times. I will try to get to bed as usual as well, feeling almost like that traveler going to the Far East and then forcing himself to walk around and not sleep as to adjust his body clock.

The truth is that I have never done that either. When I flew to Tokyo one time I immediately put on the kimono and slippers provided in my hotel room and took a long nap. Yes, I did mess up my body clock, but that sleep was worth it. When I finally went outside it was dark and I felt like I do this morning – totally out of synch with the rest of the world.

time 3I personally see no reason to keep up the charade of accepting DST and Standard Time as if it doesn’t mess up my life in tangible ways. How about if I didn’t remember to turn that clock back this morning? I could miss an important meeting tomorrow through no fault of my own. How many people this happens to is never reported. It’s a nefarious cover-up I tell you; they are keeping the records sealed away, but I guarantee that the time changes everything for more people than anyone can imagine. I’m not the only one. I can’t be. This feels like I’m stuck in a Twilight Zone script. I’m expecting those alien guys with one eyeball to walk in the door any minute now.

Obviously, on this day I have no choice but to accept my fate. I will try to go about my day normally, but since I got up way too early, my body clock is already ticking off beat. All I know is this – if I fall asleep during tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, I’m going to be walking around like one grumpy zombie tomorrow. Oh, the slings and arrows of this outrageous time change! Thanks for your big idea, Ben Franklin!

Photo credits: Amarillo.com, Wikipedia, thinkprogress.org   

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