I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a problem with Daylight Savings Time.
Wait, let me rephrase that. It’s not DST specifically I have a problem with, it’s the idea that we can fool around with time at all.
I don’t think humans can be trusted with that kind of power.
I understand that time is an artificial construct in the first place; we made it up. We didn’t do it that long ago, either. Well into the 19th Century, it could pretty much be whatever time you wanted it to be. The only reason we tried to standardize it at all, at least in North America, was so we could make train schedules, which was the only way you could know how late the train was.
The two men credited with proposing Daylight Savings Time, an English builder named William Willett and a New Zealand entomologist named George Hudson, did so for very serious reasons, respectively, to allow more daylight for playing golf and hunting for bugs.
But since the practice became more popular around World War I (so there would be more time to shoot at each other), we’ve bent time back and forth for a wide variety of frivolous reasons such as saving energy, to let there be light when children go to school, or to make it safe to go Trick-or-Treating.
Meanwhile, we screw up our sleep patterns, make computers work extra hard and disrupt the milking schedules of cows, which pisses them off, which is why farmers tell you not to consume dairy products in the Spring.*
We even play around with how we play around with time. We’ve changed the clocks once a year, twice a year and never. We’re constantly altering the dates on which we spring ahead and fall back. And not only isn’t Daylight Savings universal, it’s not even national. Some states don’t have it. In fact, even within states that do have it, there are counties that don’t. And get this: on one side of the Kentucky/Tennessee border, there’s a place that has permanent standard time, and just on the other side is a place that has permanent DST, so that you can drive a few miles and experience a two hour time difference!
There are many people who believe we should pick one time and stick with it, but they can’t agree on which time it should be. And I’m bothered by that idea, too. Let’s say we turn the clocks ahead tonight and then we decide, enough of this stupidity–we’re staying with DST. Well, what the hell happened to that hour? Can we just throw time away like that? It’s like the New York-New Jersey tolls that charge nothing when you go into Jersey and double when you go into NY. While that is entirely appropriate from a value point of view, it means you cheat the system if you drive into (and, I hope for your sake, through) NJ on your way to somewhere else and never come back.
And what if we did it the other way around? Come fall, we turn the clocks back and that’s it for evermore. Didn’t we just add an hour to our lives?
I hope they tell us in advance when they’re going to do that so we can use our hour wisely.
See you soon.
*True about upsetting the cows, not so much about the farmers’ warning, which doesn’t mean you should use dairy in spring, it just means farmers haven’t warned us about it.