The Last Word From the Lake: Time Traveling in Spring

By the time this magazine lands in your hands we will have sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time…or maybe “sprung” out of Daylight Savings Time and into Standard Time? I don’t know, the nomenclature never made sense to me.

In any case, the sun is setting later. Behind us are the days of driving home in the dark after work. At least until fall returns, but that’s all the way on the other side of summer.

I hope this is the last time we’ll spring forward and the time change will stay permanent, which is something I hope every year. And each year, some politician who I disagree with about a ton of stuff will introduce a bill to make the Daylight Savings Time permanent, and I’ll think, “Oh look, I actually agree with this person about one thing,” and then the bill won’t pass and the time change will keep happening.

Why the bill won’t pass and the time change keeps happening is fascinating to me. Getting rid of the time change is very popular. And it’s not like there’s some well-funded Daylight Savings Time lobby that’s pouring tons of cash into making sure nothing changes.

The history lesson on the Daylight Savings Time is that it was a wartime shift in an effort to save resources. Less fuel was needed to power factories (and it could make it more difficult to spot them at night) with the shift, and it’s largely stuck around in the US since then. That was in 1918. Today, factories run regardless of the outside lighting, and factory workers are seldom dodging incoming paratrooper attacks on the way to work.

So, why the holdup? People want it and politicians don’t change it. It’s like a microcosm for the whole national government. Each year in autumn when we “fall back” I threaten to become a one-man island that doesn’t observe the time change. A roving time zone that never changes would move in a 10-foot diameter everywhere I travel. People would have to consider it when inviting me to a meeting at work or making plans to get dinner. I’d continue to get that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. The only thing stopping me is that my kids’ school is stubborn about adjusting their entire start/stop time for me, which is understandable.

At this point you might say, “But Rocky, isn’t it also nice to have that hour of daylight at the start of the day?” Heck, for all I know, you may even be one of the four or five people in the state of North Carolina who feel that way. To those few folks who take advantage of the extra hour of morning light to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and go for a 10 mile run before having their coffee, I can only say this: “No.”


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