Today is the first day of Daylight Saving Time. For the last week I’ve listened to the excited cries of “We get another hour of daylight.” or “We get an extra hour.” Everyone is excited about Daylight Saving Time. The news anchor last night was thrilled that sunset wouldn’t occur until after 7:00 P.M. tonight. Well, most everyone is excited. Perhaps not myself and other morning people who are clearly in the minority. As of today it will be more than a month before my morning commute to work happens in daylight again. I have been enjoying the last three weeks or so of not feeling like a vampire.
But it’s Daylight Saving Time now. The crazy idea to begin manipulating the clocks was first popularized by the Germans in World War I as an attempt to conserve energy though they weren’t the first to try the idea. Energy conservation from changing clocks didn’t work in for the crazy nuts that tried to overrun Europe and it doesn’t work today. Many claim farmers like Daylight Saving Time. Actually, they are very much opposed and lobbied hard against DST when it was first proposed. And
Benjamin Franklin did not invent or suggest changing the clock. He wrote a satirical piece about the idea but didn’t really expect anyone to implement it but rather practice the sage advice of “early to bed early to rise” kind of like the sun. It is noteworthy that the piece was written while Franklin lived in Paris where the town slept until noon so there really wasn’t a big concern about missing daylight. There are a lot of myths out there about DST. There are benefits though. Crime occurs less during DST and certainly businesses like golf courses and other leisure industries love the weeknight incentives for those who can take advantage of it. If we are being frank, the sports and leisure industries are the main proponents and primary beneficiaries of DST.
For the modern working person morning darkness and night time daylight isn’t necessarily ideal. Regardless of what time the sun sets, Monday through Friday my life belongs to “the man”. I’m not playing golf or doing any other after-work things regardless of how late it stays light unless it is planned well ahead of time and even then is risky. The start of the work day is always early and the end a bit too unpredictable. I suppose if one works a fixed 9-5 it may be better but seldom is the private sector that reliable these days. No, if I’m going to make something happen during the week it must be before work. As a result, courtesy of the annual “Spring Ahead” I have become somewhat of a flashlight connoisseur and own many models for different purposes.
I dream of days when we no longer manipulate the clock and I can get a long bike ride in during the cool morning with an early sunrise and no headlight or worry about a sleepy commuter coming off a post-golf league hangover running me down. I have fervently campaigned for an end to Daylight Saving Time for years. I see a trend that several States are now planning to do just that with Florida leading the way. Sadly, they are making DST permanent. That isn’t what I’d hoped for.
I suppose when I am able to retire in a few years I won’t care what time it is. I’ll be able to use my days the way I want. Until then I am throwing up the white flag to the folks that like mowing grass at 8:30 in the evening. We’ll get some nicer black-out curtains for the bedroom, some fresh ear plugs and I’ll buy myself a fresh supply of flashlight batteries and I’ll stop complaining about my personal loss of productive daylight hours.
The one thing that this morning person asks is that you please stop saying there is more daylight. The amount of daylight doesn’t change with the clock and the day isn’t any longer. We aren’t really saving daylight. You just aren’t sleeping through as much of it. I am though . . just at a different part of the day.