Here we go, again… Tonight, at 2 am (Whyyyy?!) most of the United States will ‘spring forward’ and lose that precious hour of sleep. The conditions will be ripe for mood changes, car accidents, more heart attacks (oh yes), more idleness at the work place, etc. We have our beloved forefather Benjamin Franklin (in part) to thank for this.
The reasons for changing the time at two o’clock in the morning are pretty sound; there’s less traffic (be it cars, trains, buses, etc.), also, most everyone is at home, most of the continental US will have changed time before daybreak, and it doesn’t have a major impact on jobs and schedules. That said, Hawaii, Arizona and the Virgin Islands, et al, do not observe Daylight Saving Time – lucky bastards!
You notice I said ‘saving’ – as that is its proper designation. For most of us, savings just seems to roll off of the tongue easier; even if rolling out of bed the next morning isn’t. In the modern-age, I just wish they would leave the time alone. I’m not alone, in that thinking, either. In this day and age, it just seems preposterous to keep changing it back and forth.
Did you know, there are fewer pedestrian deaths on Halloween (due to more sunlight), that crime rates drop by 10-20% (depending on what area you live in – muggers don’t like to mug, in the daylight); plus – (for all of us lushes) bars that stay open ’til 2 am, lose an hour of drinking time, and-thus, business, which creates all sorts of troubles for law enforcement, when the time switches back. Daylight Saving Time causes riots, affects election turnouts, creates havoc with births of twins (if say, one is born before the time change, then the other is born after – but now, it makes the second seem to be born before the first. Chaos!) Those are just a few items that the time change makes a muck of.
DST has even been used in a trial argument, in regards to a man’s draft status (during the Vietnam War); citing that he was born before the time change and that it put his birth on a day with a higher lottery number, resulting in his selection! The man won his case, thus-avoiding the draft. Who in the hell would’ve even thought of that?! Brilliant!
Of course, there has been, at-least, one benefit to all of this time changing; a bomb threat was thwarted in Sept. 1999. The West Bank (who observed DST) was planning to blow up two busloads of people. They had made time bombs and had smuggled them into Israel (who did not observe DST); but the terrorists were confused and while implementing their vile act, the bombs exploded – an hour too soon! Goodbye, bad guys…
The main reason we observe DST is to have more daylight in the evenings. People have more time to spend with family and friends, attending functions, and what-not; driving is made easier for folks who have trouble driving at night, as well. And, again – pedestrian injuries drop significantly as a result of DST. It’s also argued that electricity usage goes down, as people don’t need to light their homes with more daylight in place. Which brings us back to Ben Franklin who wrote an essay on the subject, (while he was a delegate in Paris), called ‘An Economical Project’.
There are arguments for both sides. People hate changing their many clocks and adjusting their sleep routines. I, myself, haven’t had an issue with it, as I’ve always been a night owl; indeed – an insomniac, really. My sleep patterns have been wonked, from the time of my birth. But, I’ve never suffered the effects of hangovers, as others do, either. However, I can sympathize with those who do get thrown for a loop, as a result of this constant shifting of the sands in the proverbial hourglass.
I tend to agree with this writer…
“I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.” (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)
Let’s just make up our damned minds, shall we, and set the clocks once and for all; never to flip-flop on this ridiculous madness we have with the time, again.
By the way – don’t forget to change the batteries in your flashlights and smoke alarms! It is, after all, that time of year, again, eh…