Saving Daylight

clock 0319This was the most profound thing I read yesterday about Daylight Savings Time: it really is just shifting daylight, not saving it.

The most admonishing thing I read was: it’s saving, not savings, time. So there. Put you in your place. Or me in mine, since I have used that S carelessly, with abandon, for decades.

The Washington Post was in quite the snit about DST (if we abbreviate, that little s becomes irrelevant). Or rather, the paper seemed quite opposed to not saving time — or shifting it. Do you see how complicated it has already become?

I gather there are Movements about to bring swift end to this nonsense of shifting the clock. (We should all agree on that much: we do shift the clock, whether it results in a single saving or multiple savings, or if it saves anything at all.) Of course, there always seem to be Movements. Some of them even succeed.

Arizona, for instance. Or at least, most of Arizona is what CBS Denver told me on Saturday (maybe it was Friday — it’s not just hours that are fluid with me, but entire days of the week). Now, the news anchor did not expound on that, because we are always in a rush on CBS Denver with news that has nothing to do with weather or traffic. Without bothering with a five-minute research project, I’m going to guess that at least one semi-sovereign nation in Arizona indulges in DST.

Here is how one of my many friends named Bob once described Arizona: The Hopi are surrounded by the Navajo, who are surrounded by white people golfing.

I don’t know if it’s the case to this day, but my understanding of the historic relationship between the Hopi and the Navajo is that it was — and this may be an understatement — not good. So, if I were going to guess (and I am), it might be that if the Hopi do one thing, the Navajo do the other, just because. It would probably just be easier to do the research, but we have already established that I have Things to Do — and one hour has already been lost, completely out of my control unless I move to a carefully-selected part of Arizona.

Or Hawaii. I gather they don’t indulge in clock-switching nonsense either, but it’s so far away it might still be yesterday there. Or maybe they’re so far ahead it’s tomorrow. I once wrote a short story — no, I’ll bet it was a short play in college — where the protagonist (or some character — it was a long time ago and I don’t think it was my best work) hopped a plane to some distant Asian point in an effort to skip his birthday. I may have based this on a true story, although if it was told to me by Wenona it becomes something I wrote post-college, about her son Mark missing his birthday one year because he left the U.S. on Nov. 2 and arrived in some far-flung place several hours later on Nov. 4. No Nov. 3 along the way.

Our contractor Dusty, just to be random, only gets a birthday once every four years, since he decided to be born on a Feb. 29.

Do you see how confusing time can be? And we haven’t even started on the time anomalies and time travel and time loops so popular on Star Trek.

Anyway, the Washington Post was in a snit and I can go there with them: I am not a fan of changing clocks. Even though I like “Fall Back” and my extra hour of sleep, it then seems like it takes me longer each year to actually adjust to the changed schedule, even after the bestowment (I am so sure that ought to be a word) of a whole bonus hour.

It’s not just me. Those fiendish scientists, who are always trying to ruin it for the rest of us, have undertaken studies that show these time shifts stress our puny human bodies, sometimes leading to an uptick in heart attacks and the like.

And I guess it’s not just me, because if I understood the Post correctly — although this was the first I was hearing of it — Florida and California may both have voted last November to set clocks once and leave them alone forever after. Now, it sounds like Florida voted for sure to save time all the time, which might then give them their very own time zone come next November. If my understanding was correct — which, who can say — then when the benighted among us fall back, Florida will stay forward, and now be three hours removed from Colorado rather than two. And one hour removed from the state directly above it. Georgia? (Geography points for me, huh?)

I’m not clear what California is doing, but don’t we think that could be said of California at any given moment, DST or not? I thought it said voters approved time unshifting, one way or the other, but now it’s working its way through committee or possibly even committeess (there are so many doubles in that word that I just gave it the bonus s from “saving”).

If California voted to remain on standard time (and I’m not saying that’s what they did, because what do I know), and Florida voted for DST all the time, and we left Hawaii and possibly Alaska out of the mix because they just confuse me, we could go from four time zones to six. Just like that.

We here in Colorado tried voting once. Well, we try voting a lot, but on this particular issue we voted once. I think it was to go All Saving All the Time, but once we went one way or the other, we weren’t going to go anywhere else. The vote failed, brought down, by of all things, the ski industry. I still don’t get their argument, but the ski areas felt they would lose business if they didn’t get their MST, which in this instance, the S is for Standard. M is for Mountain, and T, as it always is, is for Time.

I don’t see why the ski areas couldn’t just shift their hours of operation, starting an hour later and ending at 5 rather than 4, but the ski industry was adamantly and loudly opposed to not moving clocks twice a year. I guess we did discuss just yesterday how switching the “wipe” time on the pow cam has practically ruined lives in Crested Butte.

The Post seemed to intimate that a Movement might be afoot in Congress to pass a national mandate of No Time Shifting (to which I say: Ha! Good luck with that), and opposition immediately appeared from the National Parent-Teacher Association. Who would have thought? But they don’t want children waiting for buses or walking to school in the dark.

We could just do what they do in China (and I did expend a minute of research time to make sure I’m not lying to you): geographically, China covers five time zones, but every last one of them is on the same time. All China All the Time. If the PTA thinks American kids would have it rough, what about those kids in western China who must spend half their school day in the dark? (It could be that I spent most of my school days in the dark.) And what about the kids in the east who have to go to bed while it’s still really light outside? Like noontime light? I’m glad I’m not those parents.

Well, whatever time it is, I am running short of it this morning, so I will bid you adieu. Be sure to take your time this morning — we don’t want anyone to experience adverse health effects.

 

 

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