Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

Let me say this right up front: I am not a fan of daylight saving time (DST). I truly think it adds to the confusion my family faces when calling me cross-country. Virginia follows DST, but Arizona does not. (Or maybe it’s just Phoenix.) At any rate, my uncle in Phoenix was always out of sync, and as a result, my family truly believes that no state but California follows DST. This leads to the inevitable question: "So, what time is it there?"

Once we get that straightened out, it’s time to change the clocks again.

I should be grateful my uncle finally moved from Arizona, and that he did not move to the Navajo nation, which is the only part of Arizona that uses DST.

Now Congress has extended DST. It used to be the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. Now it’s the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November. Apparently President Bush signed the change into law a couple of years ago and gave us until 2007 to get ready for the change.

Does Congress have any idea the amount of energy that goes into every phone call with my family? If I added up the hours I spent telling them what time it was in Virginia, I could feed a power plant for the rest of my life.

Then there’s the fact that every other nation on the planet manages their energy consumption without changing their clocks. How in the world does the rest of the world manage? Can we try it their way for a while?

Truth be told, it’s not the lack of logic that sticks in my craw. I wish I could make it sound more noble than it is, but I must be honest. I do not like DST because I am chronologically challenged. I was born early and, I believe, I have spent the rest of my life making up for that fact. I am late. Period. My mom did her best with me, but I am beyond help. (Mom also tried to make me an omnivore, but in my adult years I reverted to vegetarianism. She did her best.)

I know a half-hour is 30 minutes. I know that if I drive at 15 miles an hour, it is supposed to take me an hour to travel 15 miles. I can watch a digital readout or a second hand sweep around a clock face and know that is 60 seconds. And yet…. if it takes me one minute to walk downstairs to get a glass of water from the kitchen, I think if I am thirstier, it should take less time. If it takes 20 minutes to get to the airport but I have only 15, it should take only that amount of time I have to spend. Every time a task takes as long (or longer) than its allotted time, I am surprised and dismayed.

Given the fact that I am convinced that time moves differently for me than it does for the rest of the world, any clock adjustment tries on my circadian rhythm. I am exhausted for a week after I spring ahead. I am off-kilter when I fall back. I can travel west and function perfectly fine on Pacific time, but send me back east and returning to Eastern time takes me a week of adjustment.

I have lived in Virginia nearly as long as I lived in California, so I can’t blame the pull of the Pacific Ocean for the imbalance. I guess I could blame insanity, but I’d have to get in line behind someone with bigger problems than me, like the person who thinks she was Cleopatra in a previous life (but never a scullery maid, or a pig farmer, or a turkey inseminator). (That last one is not a fabrication. A relative had that job. Didn’t make a career out of it, not that I blame him, but it helped put him through school.)

So, as a chronologically challenged American, I object to DST, and I strenuously object to the new dates for the silly imposition. It didn’t work for Demi Moore in A Few Good Men, so I doubt it will work for me — but if we try the Alice’s Restaurant approach, maybe we’ll start that revolution after all.

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