Sunday, November 2, 2014

Burning daylight

As I hammer away on my computer keyboard this morning, my wife remains sound asleep.

We gained an hour of sleep because we changed the clocks last night. Back to standard time. Thus, my wife — who sleeps like a cat anyway — gained an hour of sleep.

Lucky her. It didn't work that way for me — I just got up an hour earlier.

I don't know why we change the clocks. Without getting into the politics of it, the whole concept of saving daylight in the summer seems like a good idea to me, so why don't we save daylight all year long? Especially in the winter, when there's less of it.

OK, OK. It's 6:30 a.m. as I write this, and there's daylight right now where there was none yesterday. Great. Who's awake to take advantage of this moment? Who's outside cutting grass or raking leaves? We seem to be adjusting our daylight for the wrong part of the day.

I went to Wikipedia to read up on this to get a clue as to what I am talking about, but the thing read like a Master's thesis and it lost me when it got to the part about disrupting circadian rhythms, which I was surprised to learn had nothing to do with the Bee Gees and disco music. Clearly, resetting the clock is a different kind of Saturday Night Fever.

As a child, clock changing always seemed like a mid-night event to me, a peculiar precursor to Christmas. I was excited about it without knowing why. I'm still not sure why. Do we actually lose an hour? Do we only have 23 hours today? Or did we repeat an hour, similar to the Twilight Zone time shifts in Ground Hog Day? Is that why the official changing hour is 2 a.m., when nobody is awake?

The blue nations observe daylight savings time. Everyone else is normal.
 And how does the rest of the world cope with this? Wikipedia showed me a map of the world where certain western civilizations observe time changing, but others on the planet don't. How can you conduct international commerce and business with an arrangement like that? How can Federal Express keep a tidy schedule with this mess going on?

Changing the clocks also makes me aware of just how many timepieces I own. There's my watch, and there's my wife's watch, which is like a miniature and I can hardly get to the stem to wind the thing back. There's digital clocks on my appliances and my ancient stereo tuner, yet miraculously I don't have to fiddle with anything on my TV or computer, which somehow know to change the time automatically. So, I wonder, what else do the TV and computer know? Then there's the clocks in our cars, which I always try to change while I'm driving. Probably not a good idea.

But I'm probably overreacting and all of this may be a moot point anyway. I'm sure I'll reconsider everything I've said, you know, after I take my nap. At 3 p.m. Or maybe 2 p.m.

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