I’m beginning this post at 11:19 a.m. on the Ides of March. That is, it’s 11:19 in real time, sun time. According to every time-keeping device within reach of me, including this laptop, it’s 12:19 p.m. (OK, 12:21 now, as I stopped to look something up.) But that’s because every time-keeping device in my vicinity lies. They are required to do so by law.
The law is the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the lying practice of observing Daylight Saving Time for four weeks more out of the year. You know why? Because Senator Michael Enzi and Michigan Representative Fred Upton thought it would be a fine idea to move the end of it later in the fall so that kids could go trick-or-treating in daylight. Really. (As if any self-respecting spook would venture forth before darkness has fallen.) I don’t know the excuse for moving the start from April to before the middle of March, but I’m sure it is also a doozy.
Lobbying for this change were “the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation Fighting Blindness.” Lobbying against, unsuccessfully, were “the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the National Parent-Teacher Association, the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Air Transport Association.
I had no idea that my church’s bishops were against it, but of course that makes perfect sense, as all right and moral people would be.
There are few measurements of time that are based in the natural world. There is the day, and the year, which both make sense as long as one is earthbound. Divorced from the cycles of the moon, months are nonsensical — just arbitrary devices we’ve agreed to pretend are real. The hours of the day make sense in only one way — if noon occurs at the height of the sun. In the days of sail, in the Royal Navy at least, noon was the occasion of some ceremony — the official beginning of the naval day. The captain would assemble his midshipmen on the quarterdeck and they would all shoot the sun with their sextants, and when there was agreement that indeed it was noon, the captain would say to the quartermaster, “Make it noon,” and a marine would strike the bell, and the foremast jacks would be piped to their dinner. Noon was real, it was grounded, and it provided a reference point for giving every other hour of the day meaning.
Now, the time of day is arbitrary, and I see little reason to respect it. Particularly when it robs me of an hour of sleep on my weekend, then causes me to rise before the sun every day for most of the year. Then — and this is the thing that bugs me more — it completely eliminates any enjoyment of the evening. I don’t know about you, but I am completely uninterested in eating my last meal of the day while the sun still shines. I’m a busy guy, and I continue being busy until the setting of the sun tugs at my attention. (This is rooted, I suppose, in all those years of newspaper work, when the climax of the long working day occurred in the evening.)
So the sun goes down, and we eat supper, and… it’s time to go to bed. No relaxing evening. No downtime. It’s all over. And I know I’ll have to get up an hour early in the morning. Which I resent.
I’m feeling this with particular force this week because I recently started working out everyday (I have a new elliptical trainer at home), and this week was when I started trying extra hard to do my workout in the morning rather than at night. I get that initial boost of energy from the workout, then I eat breakfast and about mid-morning I crash, and feel tired the rest of the day. I blame this on having to do my workout before the sun is up.
Some say it’s just an adjustment. Even people who don’t hate DST say the first few days are hard. I say stuff to that. I’ll hate it until the first week in November arrives.
You know, it’s not inevitable. Since DST is a false construct of man, it can be undone by man (arrogant man, who thinks he can revoke the movement of the spheres). They don’t put up with this tyranny in Arizona:
Arizona observed DST in 1967 under the Uniform Time Act because the state legislature did not enact an exemption statute that year. In March 1968, the DST exemption statute was enacted and the state of Arizona has not observed DST since 1967. This is in large part due to energy conservation: Phoenix and Tucson are hotter than any other large U.S. metropolitan area during the summer, resulting in more power usage from air conditioning units and evaporative coolers in homes and businesses.[disputed – discuss] An extra hour of sunlight while people are active would cause people to run their cooling systems longer, thereby using more energy. Local residents[who?] remember the summer of 1967, the one year DST was observed. The State Senate Majority leader at the time owned drive-in movie theaters and was nearly bankrupted by the practice. Movies could not start until 10:00 PM (2200) at the height of summer: well past normal hours for most Arizona residents. There has never been any serious consideration of reversing the exemption.
Did you read that? They’ve figured out in Arizona that it costs more money, because it makes you run air-conditioning longer. Well, duh. DST might, just might, make some sense if you live in Minnesota. Or back in 1918, before air-conditioning.
But it makes no kind of sense now, in South Carolina. Where are all these neo-Confederates who want to nullify every sensible act of the Congress when it comes to a useless act such as DST? How dare those damnyankees tell us to build our entire days upon a lie against God’s creation? Why, it offends all decent sensibilities.
People just accept things, as though they were sheep. Are there no men among us anymore?
I don’t know, but I wish somebody would do something. I would, but I’m too blamed tired…
Episcopalian choirs are in favor of the earlier change. More than once, the time change has fallen on Easter, meaning the God-forsaken hour for Easter Vigil call is even more God-forsaken. Episcopalians believe in crack-o’dawn vigils–none of your easy-peasy Catholic whenever stuff.
Time is an arbitrary construct. Your example of the Royal Navy marking time is the single best example of your position; until one thinks of all the other people who would/will experience “noon” at their own localized place. That’s why the English went with time zones. So our starting point of local time is already divorced from the actual celestial time. The definition of time is a construct of man – though we certainly have no say over it’s passing. However, we are free to name and define the passage of time as we so choose. It’s been that way since humans learned to think.
I’d prefer it if we stayed on daylight savings time year ’round.
Well, for those of us who spend lots of time sitting at a keyboard and writing and can do it anytime we please, daylight savings time is no advantage. For those unlucky enough to still be following somebody else’s schedule trying to earn a living, a little more daylight after working hours is a big advantage.
I just can’t agree. I tried really hard, but I can’t.
I missed the Age of Sail, and had to settle for serving as a Marine in the Age of Sand. For me, the clock has always just been a way for me to determine how much time there was until something else was due. Get up when it’s dark, go to sleep when it’s dark, ya know?
That said, I prefer supper when the day’s heat has broken and the sun is setting. And since I’m under 65, I prefer that be later than 5:30pm.
Sensible? Maybe, maybe not. I’m just glad that I’ve spent 10 minutes thinking on this instead of attacking all the work I’ve piled up.
How does it make running the air conditioning longer? If it ran from 10:00 – 7:00 before, now it runs from 11:00 – 8:00.
If you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time you don’t lose any sleep.
Point of clarity: I was not calling you 65 in the above post. (I have no idea how old you may be.) That was, as the kids say, a bad joke.
Apologies to anyone 65+ who might’ve taken offense. (I must say, though, if you’re that old and browsing the blogosphere, I’m quite impressed.)
Not sure if serious.
I agree completely, except replace DST with EST. But why not compromise by 1/2 hour.
Indians say that it’s typical of the government to cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom and expect a longer blanket.
Hawaii doesn’t have DST. That means twice a year our relationship changes with the mainland.
I’ve hated DST all my life, but I’ll go a step further. No more time zones. Put the whole world on ZULU time.
There would be some merit in that (just going by Zulu time), now that we have GPS. But in the past, local time was helpful to navigation.
And I must disagree with Mark — local time is not an artificial construct. Based as it was on noon — real, by-the-sun noon — it was essential in calculating one’s location on the Earth. That, and the angle of the north star. And the moons of Jupiter. And other stuff.
The time ZONES are artificial, but they are based on a real thing.
@Steven–I think the A/C savings is regarding office hours–most offices would not run the A/C as long if they only started at 11 instead of 10.
I don’t care which we choose, but pick one and stick with it. I hate the jet lag.
The use of clocks has only became widespread since the Industrial Revolution, so Mark Stewart is basically right. USC historian Mark Smith wrote a well-received book, “Mastered by the Clock” about how plantations were revolutionized by the use of timekeeping devices. Agrarian societies don’t need clocks. They just get up and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
Just resort to Greenwich Mean Time and deal with it.
Time zones were invented by railroads so the trains could run on schedule.
You know, when the Pearl Harbor attack happened, Honolulu and Washington were five and a half hours different because of local time — which was established by the navy. Kido Butai, however, was operating on Tokyo time, no matter where they were in the world.
It really doesn’t make much difference to me if we have DST or not, because in either case, I seem to be late in getting into my pew on Sunday mornings.
“I hate the jet lag.”
One hour isn’t “jet lag”. Besides do you have somewhere to be?
“If you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time you don’t lose any sleep.”
Yea but the problem is it makes you not go to bed at the same time. If you have a 2-3 hour evening routine that you start at sundown – you now are going to bed an hour later, since sundown is an hour later, yet you still have to get up at the same time. You lose an hour of sleep. Or at least that is how it affects me. I don’t even think about what time it actually is, I don’t start thinking about dinner until it is getting dark and then my evening is all skewed and suddenly it’s late and then suddenly it’s early. I’m tired and I hate it.
Since we end up getting up in the dark most of the year anyway, I’m all in favor of DST year ’round. I’m sure the cows won’t care.
If the cows had to live by the clock, they would.
This phenomenon tells me something about myself that I didn’t realize — that I’m very attuned to nature, and when man’s artificial constructs seek to divorce me from that, I rebel, physically and mentally.
That actually makes me feel better about myself than I otherwise would. As I confessed back here, I am not a sun person — or really an outdoor person in any way, but I ESPECIALLY prefer to stay inside when the bright, glaring sun is bearing down. Which does NOT make be feel better about myself, because I have this vague notion that sun people are more positive people, more open to Life As It Should Be Lived.
But realizing that my own circadian rhythm is bound to the celestial bodies to some extent makes me feel more like a Natural Man, and less like the grubby sort who huddles over a computer in a windowless room consuming coffee and Skittles with no regard to God’s Creation.
So I’m sitting here indoors at my laptop congratulating myself over that…
@Scout – I went to bed at 11:00 before the time change, I go to bed at 11:00 after the time change. I got up at 6:30 before the time change, I get up at 6:30 now after the time change. The only nights I lose or gain an hour of sleep is the morning of the change.
The only people it really bothers is the people that let it bother them.
I agree, local time is not an artificial construct when viewed from an individual’s position. The same holds true to the crew of a ship at sea, especially before the age of radio, as the world one experiences is limited to that which exists from the ship to the horizon.
The problem comes when we have to start aggragating these individual experiences. It’s a little messy when someone in Myrtle Beach experiences “noon” as a different time from another in Columbia or still another in Seneca. And that’s just within the state. We need uniformity to interact in a more complex social world that is, in fact, divorced from the natural cycle of the strictly local experience of time. That’s been left for animals – and people on vacation.
I did find it amusing that religious groups would be against this inevitable move toward a more human-based conceptualization of time. Progress is always running over people who hold fast in an ever-evolving world …
Ha! I think that you’re a closet SADS (seasonal affective disorder syndrome) victim who is suffering depression from lifelong sun deprivation as the result of perversely denying your malady!
Well, Steven–I do have to get fresh bonbons to eat while I watch my soaps.
People who are more wired to the sun than to the clock will tend to get less sleep during DST. That is just a fact. Good for you if you are not one of those people, but that doesn’t mean that “The only people it really bothers is the people that let it bother them.”
@Kathryn – Why do I think you’re not kidding.
@ Steven–No comment.
@Kathryn – So you aren’t kidding. You’re just a regular Peg Bundy aren’t you.