BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
We're well into the second week of Daylight Saving Time and all my clocks have been adjusted except my internal one. "Spring forward, fall back" isn’t just a catchy reminder; it’s also a good description of my attempts to get out of bed each morning for at least a month after losing that precious hour of sleep. The time change throws me into a bleary-eyed fog so thick that I found myself at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, trying to set the bathroom scale ahead an ounce.
Contrary to popular belief, DST wasn’t implemented by aliens to keep earthlings in a state of subdued disorientation (which makes all that probing much easier), nor was it instituted to stiff graveyard shifters out of an hour’s pay. DST was first adopted during WWI to replace artificial lighting with extended daylight hours, thus saving energy needed for war production. I get that. But it’s 2011, and what once was practicality has become a pestilence for many, especially first-shift employees. Trust me, the roads are much safer with me driving to work by the dawn’s early light rather than navigating the murky darkness with eyes at half-mast and brain cells on E.
I asked a random sampling of friends why DST started and was surprised to learn how many folks mistakenly believe "it had something to do with helping farmers, right?" Wrong. In fact, farmers generally oppose DST because it affects harvesting, reduces labor time in the summer, and confuses the heck out of the animals because they don’t wear watches.
It’s said that DST also hurts prime-time TV ratings. I can vouch for that: DST caused me to missed a half-season of "Frasier" in the mid-‘90s because it took me three months to figure out what time it was on. It also took me that long to figure out I’d forgotten to turn the living room clock back, but that’s beside the point.
Obviously, I’m not a fan of the spring-forward concept, but falling back? I’m all for that! Yes, I know we’re fooling ourselves into thinking we’re getting an extra hour when really, it’s just a refund of what we lost in March, but who doesn’t still look forward to that 60-minute bonus, real or imagined? Some parents, that’s who. Like animals, most toddlers don’t wear watches, so the beginning or end of DST doesn’t make a whit of difference to them. As a friend with a 1-year-old told me, "I think, ‘Wow, she slept till 6! Then I realize it just 5 a.m. posing as 6 a.m. It’s still 5 a.m.!" Yet another reason I’m not a parent. (Or a farmer.)
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to deep-six all this time-shifting tomfoolery. I'm moving to Djibouti, which not only ignores DST, but is fun to say.