Uncool Thing: Daylight Savings Time

Time for a little twist on things: let’s talk about Daylight Savings Time (summer time for you folks across the pond.) I loath Daylight Savings Time.

I’m sure there are at least one or two reasons to think about adopting DST. I’m told it somehow saves us energy, though given how much of our society runs ’round the clock now I find that hard to believe. Still, I’ll grant that the people who collect this data are probably right, George Barna I am not.

But that’s the only really relevant reason for it I’ve heard, for the most part people just want Daylight Savings Time because it gives them “more” daylight in the evening. For this, we change our clocks twice a year, wind up with ruined sleep cycles and stagger around like zombies for two weeks.

Maybe it’s a racket by the coffee growers. There have got to be at least a few people who go out and get themselves addicted while trying to shake off the blahs that come with having your sleep schedule kicked around by a full hour twice a year. Even if only a couple of hundred thousand people make extra trips to Starbucks twice a year it’s probably a noticeable bump in income. But maybe not.

A decade ago my home state of Indiana sided with the eminently sensible folks in Arizona and didn’t bother with DST. Unfortunately, then we elected our current Governor, Mitch Daniels, who pushed through a bill to adopt it. His reasoning was that, by falling into lockstep with the rest of the nation we made it easier for local businesses to work across state lines because out of state businesses wouldn’t have to try and remember what time it was in Indiana anymore. I suppose that’s well and good, but it doesn’t do much to explain why the whole country needs to be on Daylight Savings Time.

If you’ve ever seen the movie National Treasure you know that Riley Poole mentions DST first being proposed by Benjamin Franklin. Surely such a wise man had a good reason for proposing such a radical change to the way time was kept, right? Well, no, if you actually look into it he was satirizing the French and what he viewed as a bad habit of sleeping in while the sun was up. He also proposed taxing candles (which allowed people to stay up later) and window shutters (which helped people sleep when the sun was shining.) But if all people wanted was a life clock set by the sun they don’t need to go around screwing with the clocks twice a year. Just learn to get up earlier and never get out of the habit.

I’ve become convinced that the only real reason that the US bothers with DST anymore is because somewhere, in some insignificant little federal office, there’s a bureaucrat of no real consequence who’s only pleasure in life is drawing up the DST time change schedules every year and cackling about how he has the power to control time! Then he files his paperwork, sure that his tiny little moment of egotistical power will be backed by the full might of the Federal Government and moves on until next year, sure that no one will ever be the wiser to his clever little mind games.

Well, guess what, DST guy? I’m on to you. One day, you’ll get yours. Tell your friends at Starbucks that I won’t be joining them this year, either.

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