Tempus Fugit: The Even More Dubious Pleasures of Daylight Savings Time

Dali21

One of Salvador Dali’s “Liquid Clocks”–and an all-too-apposite image of how I feel when we implement this time change!

Daylight Savings Time

In spring when maple buds are red,
We turn the clock an hour ahead;
Which means, each April that arrives,
We lose an hour out of our lives.

Who cares? When autumn birds in flocks
Fly southward, back we turn the clocks,
And so regain a lovely thing
That missing hour we lost in spring.

–Phyllis McGinley

Sadly, I’ve never quite managed to be as philosophical as McGinley about Daylight Savings Time, which begins this weekend. In fact, to be brutally honest, I’ve never been a fan of DST and sometimes, I’ve flat out hated it. Especially when I was a kid and dragging myself out of bed on cold school mornings was already a challenge. Having to get up when it was pitch-black outside because some arbitrary force had decreed that it was an hour later than it had been the day before felt like cruel and unusual punishment. Even now, with my schooldays behind me, I still greet the advent of DST with a curled lip–and a snarl worthy of the Duke in The Thirteen Clocks.

The_13_Clocks_(Simont)

The clocks were dead, and in the end, brooding on it, the Duke decided that he had murdered time, slain it with his sword, and wiped his bloody blade upon its beard and left it lying there, bleeding hours and minutes , its springs uncoiled and sprawling, its pendulum disintegrating.

–James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks

To make things even less pleasant, the change seems to be coming sooner every year. Where DST once took place at the end of April, by degrees it’s been creeping back. First to early April, than to late March, and now early March, a good two weeks before spring even begins! When the weather is still freezing, the mornings are still dark, and winter still lingers like a guest who’s worn out his welcome. (Even McGinley might have issues with that.) Artificially changing the time does nothing to counteract this seasonal malaise. If anything, I should think it would make it worse, increasing fatigue as our bodies try to adjust to this change and adding an element of stress as we struggle to compensate for that lost hour.

Spring forward, fall . . . flat on your face.

Granted, having no other choice, one eventually adjusts to the change in schedule. And maybe comes to appreciate in having a longer stretch of daylight, especially in the evenings. But the transition period can still be a major pain in the posterior, and the benefits of this temporal manipulation may be months in making themselves felt.

As someone who personally loves that extra hour, whether spent in sleeping, creating, or simply being, I bid it a fond farewell until the autumn. And hope fervently that no one ever comes up with the bright idea to have DST begin on January 1st!

Hope everyone out there weathers the time change successfully! This too shall pass.

One thought on “Tempus Fugit: The Even More Dubious Pleasures of Daylight Savings Time

  1. Pingback: Sneak Preview of My New Work in Progress | Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres

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