Rescuing Daylight

As I awoke at what a mere two days ago would have been a completely unreasonable 4:20 rather than this morning’s more acceptable (but still early) 5:20, after staying up “late” because it felt “normal,” I would like to lodge yet another complaint about this nonsense of time shifting.

The Washington Post tells me there is a bipartisan push to make this the last time shift this country experiences. Who knows where it is in the legislative process, or where it might end up, but a small group of seven senators would like to see us all shift to permanent Daylight Saving Time. Here’s my big question: if it’s always the time standard, do we stay at Mountain Daylight Time or start calling it standard time?

I certainly hope my question isn’t what derails this drive, but I feel quite certain something will come along that allows my misery to continue twice every year.

I had big plans yesterday. Huge. Immense. Okay, I had some tasks in mind that didn’t even involve me leaving the dining table: e-mails to reply to, bills to pay, a new idea for yet another bookcase I wanted to pencil out (I was inspired by the recent obituary for longtime family friend Ralph Johnson, a retired professor of English from Western Then State who had 22 bookcases in his house — I have a long way to go).

What did I do instead? I napped.

I feel reasonably sure, based on my extensive research, which consisted of talking to four people, all of whom were also napping, that I was not alone in my approach to yesterday. I’m further feeling on reasonably confident ground when I tell you I will not be alone in taking at least a week to make a complete adjustment to this shifting of time.

So why are we still doing this? Especially when we push the start time ever closer to the beginning of the year and the the end farther toward the back? Maybe that’s the subtle way to phase out Standard Time: we can just keep moving the goal posts until they meet on Jan. 1.

This is the part I don’t get: several states, Colorado not among them, have voted to adopt Daylight Saving Time year-round. But for some reason these states need congressional approval. How did Arizona and Hawaii manage when no one else can?

I don’t know about Hawaii, but Arizona opted long ago to not partake in the Daylight Saving foolishness. In theory Arizonans write MST (Mountain Standard Time) all year long, but for practical purposes they are only on that for four months of the year. The rest of the time it’s more likely that they are on Pacific Daylight Time — without ever touching a clock.

As a journalist (once upon a time), the word “sunshine” when used near a legislative body of any size means to me that we are talking about doing the public’s business in the public view, of which I am a firm believer and champion. But in Congress right now, when they say sunshine they’re talking, well, sunshine. Daylight. Saving it. All year long.

“The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” makes it sound like we’re saving the whales, doesn’t it? I think the sun is going to go on for another several billion years regardless of what legislation we mere mortals might pass. Modestly, I might suggest a more accurate name: “The Keep TL From Seasonal Crankiness Act of All Time.” I feel this gives it a much better chance of passage, but either way I stand firmly behind this effort by Sens. Rubio, Lankford, Blunt, Whitehouse, Wyden, Hyde-Smith, Scott and Markey. Although I further now think Sen. Whitehouse ought to run for president so we could have a Whitehouse in the White House.

There are two ways to approach ending this time-shifting nonsense. The first is the less-popular Arizona Way, in which you Save No Daylight. According to a chart I found yesterday, that would put summer sunrise in Denver at 4:30 a.m. and sunset at 7:30 p.m.

This gets us to the more popular Save All Daylight approach, which is the one most states that have voted have voted for and what these senators are angling for. It would make Sunday’s time change the last one in the entire universe, even if schoolchildren in many places would get on their January buses in the dark. As someone pointed out, kids in Alaska manage this all the time.

However, I’ve seen the alacrity with which Congress moves on matters of utmost importance, and I feel that on such a scale, it might actually act on legislation commanding the sun numerous time changes from now. Numerous. Even if everyone in the country wants this to happen.

Okay, it’s not everyone in the country. It’s just me, which I think ought to supersede the ski industry, which lobbied mightily against such a proposal the last time Colorado suggested it. Somehow the industry felt Saving Daylight in the winter would destroy skiing for all mankind. Frankly, skiing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seems more civilized to me than 9-4, but since I haven’t been a skier for 30-odd (they weren’t that odd) years now, I suppose the industry doesn’t really want or need my input. But it does still seem like a not-very-good reason when we have the excellent reason that it would make me happy.

So it may be that Colorado’s two moderate senators do not join this bipartisan effort to Save Daylight from American whims, and it’s entirely possible you will be hearing from me yet once again come November. But it seems worth it to me to at least give a try to Saving Daylight. If, like Prohibition, it turns out to be not the great idea it sounded like, we could always go back to our time-shifting ways.

In the meantime, you may find me out on the picket lines: “Save Daylight! It’s Our Last, Best Hope For A Good Night’s Sleep!”

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