I have noticed that a handful of subjects elicit a more, well, grumpy response from me than they once did. One such topic is that of Daylight Savings Time.
I am half cranky on the subject: in the springtime, I enjoy it. I lose that hour of sleep, but evenings stay brighter, and the extra light at day’s end is a welcome change that helps to usher in the summer months.
The autumn time change, however, is one I find less appealing. I essentially never really gain much benefit from that theoretical extra hour of sleep, and the price of it all is the loss of evening light.
None of this mattered in the pre-DST world, when dawn and dusk came and went for most folks, for whom the clock held little importance. Only with the age of desk jobs and bus schedules did clock time become so vital.
And so, in the effort to trap the most daylight during the most usable hours, we twice a year sabotage our daily routines. We are tired the day after the clock shift. We complain about mornings being too dark, then evenings being too dark.
We don’t like it. But then again, we rarely stop to consider how DST aids us, particularly in the fair-weather months.
Imagine your July 4th fireworks being at 8:30 p.m.—dusk on Central Standard Time. That’s not a terrible thought in and of itself, but your hometown’s Independence Day schedule would have to adapt considerably to accommodate the earlier pyrotechnics.
And don’t forget that the sun setting an hour earlier means it comes up the next day an hour earlier. When those summer days are long anyway, imagine sunrise the day after those July 4 fireworks coming just after 5 a.m. That’s the actual sunrise: the sky would be getting light well before that.
Good morning, sunshine.
So when people talk about doing away with Daylight Savings Time—despite the fact that I am downright grouchy on the subject—I generally retreat from such a notion. To prevent one tired day at the time change, I’m going to watch the sun come up in the middle of the night all summer long? That wasn’t exactly the solution I was seeking, either.
It is entirely possible that I am getting tough to please. After all, when I was a kid we had Daylight Savings, and it didn’t bother me a bit. The folks would wake me up in the morning and I would go about my business, all as if nothing had changed.
Maybe there is a lesson in that memory, do you think? Is it possible that as children we were more content with change, because we had not yet become so rigid in our thinking? Back when I would just accept life’s changes or challenges as I went, it seemed that changes just didn’t affect me so much.
In such a scenario, the trouble with Daylight Savings lies not in the time change, or in the sleep/routine disruption that accompanies it, but indeed rests in us—in our stubbornness, our inflexibility and the increasing unpleasantness that sometimes accompanies our getting older.
Now that I think about it, I never cared one way or the other about DST until the adults around me complained about it. And my kids might yawn an extra yawn or find themselves unexpectedly awake an hour early on varying sides of the time change, but I doubt they sustain much permanent harm from the clock adjustment.
My message to myself: ‘Get over it. Turn your clock, wake up, get your shower and get on with life!’ Complaining helps nothing, after all. It’s good advice: I hope one day to take it as well as I give it.
Matt Pearl owns and operates newspapers in King City, Albany and Grant City.