Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!

Back in college, doing a time warp meant dancing with friends to some great music from “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” While dancing in college was fun, doing a time warp as an adult is not. The real horror today is the older, working me having to live through a time warp each spring when my body is tortured springing forward with the change to Daylight Saving Time. Beware! That horror looms ahead this weekend on Sunday, March 10.

Actually, the horror is even worse for me, a grammar and spelling Nazi. I am forced to watch the term Daylight Saving Time constantly being misspelled. There is only one “s” in the entire phrase “Daylight Saving Time.” Apparently no “savings” exists–well, at least in the name. There is no such creature as “Daylight SAVINGS Time.” If it is savings you are after, go to a bank.

Think that is it for the horror for me? Nope. The official time for the time change is at 2:00 a.m. Raise your hand if you are normally up at this ungodly hour. Hey, I cannot even last until midnight on New Year’s Eve, so me staying up until 2:00 a.m. to set my clock forward is laughable. Don’t tell the time police, but I merely set my bedroom clock ahead an hour before turning in for the night.

Thankfully, my cell phone automatically resets to Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. That saves me from having to figure out how to accomplish this feat with my phone. And while I know how to manually set the clock forward on an old-fashioned clock with an actual face and hands, that doesn’t mean I do it. I neglected to fall back with one of my clocks. No harm done; it will be on the correct time when the clock strikes 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. One less clock for me to reset.

And if the time change itself isn’t enough to create a time warp, consider that the time changes at different points across the country. Someone in NYC will set his clock ahead at 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time, but someone in Chicago will not set his clock ahead until 2:00 a.m. Central Time. A Hollywood star (who is likely to be up and still partying at 2:00 a.m.) will make the time change when it is 2:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The bottom line is that all clocks are to be changed at 2:00 a.m., but that change occurs at local time and is not done simultaneously. Confused? Welcome to the time warp!

Daylight Saving Time, which I’ll refer to as DST (reducing my chances of slipping up and typing “Savings” instead of “Saving”), will remain in place until November 3, 2019. This seasonal time change runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. I’m sure I won’t remember the specific time frame, but thankfully calendars have this information printed on the appropriate days in March and November. I can, however, remember spring forward and fall back. It’s great to fall back in November, but you’ll eventually pay for it in March.

So how did we get sucked into this time warp? Blame the Canadians! Those in the Thunder Bay area in Canada first tried this concept back in 1908. It took some time for the concept to catch on though. Germany and Austria were the first countries to use DST eight years later in 1916. They weren’t trying to copy the Canadians, they were just trying to minimize the use of artificial light to save fuel for the war effort. The two countries turned their clocks ahead one hour on April 30, 2016, two years into World War I.

Uncle Sam started doing the time warp in 1942. As with Germany and Austria, an ongoing war spurred the U.S. to make this change. At the height of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced a measure to observe year round DST. But, of course, it wasn’t called DST; it was cleverly called “War Time” and remained in effect from February 2, 1942 until September 30, 1945.

DST has been known by other names as well as DST and “War Time.”. In England there’s BST (British Summer Time). Germany has Sommerzeit (“Summer Time”). The summer time designation is more appealing, at least to me. Use of DST (or whatever you call it) makes for longer summer evenings. Who doesn’t want lazy summer evenings to last longer?

The concept of DST has spread around the globe. Approximately 70 countries (around 40% of countries worldwide) do the time warp. Now, in addition to knowing where Carmen San Diego is, we need to know what time it is where she is located.

So, here in the U.S. we’ll all be springing forward this weekend, right? Wrong. It would be too convenient for their to be uniformity in the treatment of time across our great nation. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 affords every state or territory the right to opt out of DST. Two states (Arizona and Hawaii) as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have chosen not to do the time warp. I have no heartburn about Hawaii and island territories opting out. These locations all probably operate on island time anyway, so they are already special cases. And, if I happen to be in those exotic locations, I’d be on vacation and don’t really care what time it is anyway; you go on vacation to avoid being a slave to the clock.

Is having DST worthwhile? The goals of DST are to save energy and to make better use of daylight. The latter goal seems to be met. There are more daylight hours in summer evenings for recreation and enjoyment. But is energy actually saved? Probably not enough to justify the torture of putting American through a time warp. From January 1974 to April 1975, the U.S. observed year round DST due to an oil embargo. Only a “modest” energy savings was reported to have resulted.

DST or not, I’m wondering if anyone really knows what time it is. Even if the hands of the clock aren’t touched, I often feel like I’m living in a time warp. How can I be a Mimi? Wasn’t I just a coed at UGA dancing to Rocky Horror’s “The Time Warp” just last week? Like it or not, I’ve sprung forward into the future.

JUST WONDER-ing:  Does it take your body much time to adjust to a time change? Is the use of DST justified? Should it be abolished?