Have I mentioned yet that I really dislike switching our clocks back and forth an hour in the spring and fall for Daylight Saving Time? A search of the website so far shows that I haven’t, so apologies if the search engine sucks and you’ve heard this story before, but I really dislike switching our clocks back and forth an hour in the spring and fall for Daylight Saving Time!
I understand the thinking. I understand what the goal is. As the days get shorter in the winter, “we” prefer to have more daylight hours in the morning, even if it means an “earlier” sunset. As the days get longer in the summer, rather than having daylight hours “wasted” in the time prior to most folks being awake, “we” shift the clock so that most of us still wake up close to sunrise, leaving more hours of daylight in the evening for the majority of the population to enjoy.
Here’s what’s wrong in my opinion — it’s mandatory imposition of jet lag on the entire country. (Well, except for Arizona, and half of Indiana?) Furthermore, while most of us can deal psychologically with the effects of jet lag because we’re aware that we moved a significant distance around the planet, with DST it just suddenly happens. You wake up one morning and you’re still right where you were when you went to bed, but the whole freakin’ planet has shifted.
Then there’s the way pets handle it, i.e., by not even knowing that it exists. So when the sun gets to there, they want to be fed. Or walked. Or in bed. Doing those things an hour earlier in the spring is confusing. Doing them an hour later in the fall just pisses them off and makes them whine at you and wonder why you don’t get it! It’s dinner time! See, the sun’s there, same place that it was yesterday at dinner time! I don’t care what the glowing, blue marks on the cable box say! I’m color blind to begin with, and I’M A DOG! It’s dinner time!
Of course, there are reports all over the place (google it) that argue that the switch to and from DST actually has real financial and social costs in the real world. Workers are sleepier, have more trouble concentrating, and their productivity is down. In addition, with one of the normal commutes now being in darkness when it was in the light on Friday, traffic is heavier, more time and money and gas are wasted and pollution generated due to that, and the number of car accidents go up.
Face it, the sun and the Earth’s orbit really don’t give a rat’s ass about us, or our rules. We’re a fungus, an infestation on the surface of a dust mote in a back corner of a pretty ordinary galaxy. The days will be short, then they’ll get to evenly split between night and day, then they’ll get long, then back to split, back to short, back to split… The exact details depend on where you are on the planet — a pole, the equator, or somewhere in between.
Our arbitrary assignment of numbers and order to that cycle is our psychosis, not the universe’s. So why not just set the numbers and the system, accept the cycle and plan accordingly? Some times of the year it will be dark in the morning when we get up and sometimes it won’t. Some times of the year it will be light in the evening when we’re having dinner and sometimes it won’t.
Why do we have to confuse the hell out of everyone in order to “cheat” the system a bit, when we’re really not changing anything at all?
At this point, the only thing that DST is good for is reminding us when to change the batteries in our smoke alarms. Surely there can be a better way to accomplish that than DST. Right?