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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

After springing forward last Sunday, most of us feel like we are in a time warp.  While it is easy to adjust one’s watch, it is not quite as easy to reset our body clocks.  What the digital display indicates the time is does not agree with what our bodies are telling us it is.

But what is some disruption to our body clocks when we can have Daylight Saving Time and make better use of our daylight hours?  Who knew that simply manipulating a time display would magically transform us into good stewards of our time?

We can thank good old Benjamin Franklin for the idea of Daylight Saving Time.  He conceived this idea while serving as an American delegate in Paris in 1784.  Being in the City of Lights must have set off a light bulb in his head as to how to produce more evening daylight hours.  Perhaps Ben needed more time at the end of the day to sit at a sidewalk cafe while it was still light, watch the world go by and come up with pithy sayings such as “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  Mais oui!

 

Unfortunately, when we have to spring forward the time change occurs at 2:00 a.m.  How convenient–if you are vampire Edward Cullen of Twilight fame and don’t sleep.  Except for sleep-deprived parents of infants up for a feeding, what normal people are awake at that wee hour of the morning to set a clock forward?

To help us remember which way to adjust our clocks, we have the cute saying, “Spring forward and fall back.”  Of course, that saying presumes you know what season you are in; often I wake up and don’t know what day it is much less what season I am in.  Throw 2:00 a.m into the mix as the time the adjustment is to be made and odds are something might get confused when resetting a clock.

Spring forward occurs on the second Sunday in March.  Silly me.  I thought March Madness had to do with basketball.  Nope.  The real March Madness occurs in the days following the clock adjustment when you wake up at the time your clock says you routinely get up, but you are exhausted and it is dark outside.  You are mad at the ridiculous idea of getting up when your body is clearly telling you it isn’t time to start the day yet.  Mercifully, we gain an hour when we fall back on the first Sunday in November giving us a little something extra to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  Woo hoo!  Back to the real time!

Of course Daylight Saving Time has always been controversial.  Some places, such as the state of Arizona and the Virgin Islands, do not observe Daylight Saving Time.  Opponents of “Summer Time” have sought to abolish it.  Others enjoy it so much they do not want to ever fall back. Recent legislation in Florida proposed having the Sunshine State adhere to Daylight Saving Time all year round.

While I understand the desire to extend evening daylight hours, manipulating the clock just seems unnatural to me.  Time has traditionally been measured by the position of the sun in the sky.  Noon is when the sun is at its highest point.  The clock can tell us whatever time we set it to say, but isn’t it still noon when the sun is at that highest point regardless?  Seems like we are observing pretend time when we are on Daylight Savings Time.

The Bible tells us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1.)  A laundry list of what there is a time for is provided.  There’s a time to be born and a time to die.  A time to love and a time to hate.  A time to weep and a time to laugh.  Strikingly missing from that list of “a time for” is a time to mess with the time.  It does not say “A time to spring forward and a time to fall back.” If God had meant man to change the time, don’t you think that such an activity would have been listed?

Clocks can be and are manipulated to show whatever time we desire them to show.  Thus, they are inherently unreliable.  I prefer to rely on the ultimate clock, my body, to tell me what time it is.  It never fails to let me know when it is time to eat and time to sleep.  Right now it is telling me that I need to end this post because I am tired and my brain needs a break.  And why am I tired?  Let’s just blame that pretend time that requires me to observe a time with which my body disagrees.

Isn’t it time to quit messing with time?  Forget saving daylight.  Let’s save ourselves the bother of attempting to adjust our internal time clocks twice a year.  It’s time for a change, and I don’t mean changing the time on the clock.