Sunday, November 5, 2023

The time has changed. Again.

PantherMediaSeller | Deposit Photos
This graphic seemed appropriate for the day after the night before. I suspect that all of us in North America are spiraling a little bit today. (You Europeans ought to be all recovered from your time change a couple of weeks ago. Aren't you? Aren't you???)

Besides the usual chorus of "ugh"s and "not again"s, the most common reaction I've seen to reminders about last night's return to Standard Time has been, "I thought we got rid of that!" Alas, no. You're thinking of that parliamentary maneuver last year in which a couple of U.S. senators snuck through a bill to keep the country on Daylight Time all year. The House never brought it up for a vote, and so it died.

Congress has been dinking around with Daylight Time since World War I, but we really played around with it in the 1970s. I distinctly remember a year in junior high when we were all ordered not to change our clocks. Our school system got around it by not resetting the classroom clocks, but shifting school hours by an hour. (The time-change tussle was way more complicated in Indiana than I remember, according to this guy's blog post.)

Also, I was sure I remembered that we spent less of the year on Daylight Time back then, and it turns out I was right. Take a look at this chart. When I was a kid in the '60s and '70s, Daylight Time started at the end of April and ended at the end of October. Now it starts in early to mid March and ends in early November. Why did it change? Does anybody really know? Does anybody really care? (According to this article -- in Time, appropriately enough-- it was lengthened in 1986 to make recreational business interests happy. It gave folks more daylight hours in the evening to, y'know, spend money on having fun. It was also supposed to save energy consumption, but it didn't actually do that.)

To be honest, I think we're all just sick of of the constant disruptions to our circadian rhythms -- the older you get, the harder it is to recover, or so I've found -- and most people think we should just pick one time and stick with it. The science appears to be on the side of Standard Time; the Washington Post has a cute little story-with-graphics about it on its website today -- here's a no-paywall link, if you're interested in checking it out. But a lot of folks like Daylight Time because it gives them more light at their preferred time of day.

I tend to be a night owl, so I'm in the camp of more light at night. But I'm also in the camp of not getting up before dawn, and I don't have much control over that, either, now that I've gone back to work.

Maybe one of these days, both houses of Congress will take a stand against messing with our clocks. But in the meantime, we'll have to keep doing this semiannual dance.

I'm not yawning; you're yawning!


By the way, I'm taking next weekend off from blogging. See you back here on Sunday, November 19th.


These moments of bleary-eyed blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay safe!

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