It’s now dark when I get up in the mornings which doesn’t bother me because I usually get up so early I get up in the dark most of the year. About the only times it isn’t dark when I get up is midsummer when the days are at their longest and for a week or so after Daylight Saving Time ends and we fall back or spring forward and I wish we could just step sideways and avoid the whole thing because the name is just misleading. We didn’t save any daylight. If we did I could have kept some in a jar and carried it around with me and pulled it out when I need it, like when I’m coming home. And that’s what really bothers me: we’ve reached the time of year when I come home in the dark. It’s like that old joke some people make about how their job is to be a mushroom: they’re kept in the dark and fed shit. My job isn’t like that because there’s plenty of light to go around while I’m at work even if I don’t have time to get outside and enjoy it. And that’s inevitable. It would happen even without Daylight Saving Time because it’s just the time of year and we live at a latitude where the days inevitably get shorter and colder because our side of the planet is moving closer to the sun and if there’s one thing nature enjoys it’s being counterintuitive.
It just makes me wonder why we even need Daylight Saving Time anymore because it just seems like an unnecessary prodding of an already completely arbitrary system. Most of us have ten fingers and ten toes and base ten is almost universally accepted for arithmetic so naturally we have a way of measuring units of time that puts twenty four hours in a day with each hour consisting of sixty minutes, but at least each minute is sixty seconds, which is a little bit of consistency. And we accept it because it’s what we’re used to, even though that’s not necessarily a good reason for keeping around a system that was probably invented in ancient India thousands of years—and millions of years ago. On the other hand there’s no good reason for getting rid of it either which is why even in countries that have already accepted the metric system for weights and distances metric time was a huge flop. Those who were in favor of it couldn’t put up much of a fight because they never could show up for any meetings because they always ended up oversleeping by a few hundred millihours, but that’s another story. And I remember in first grade we spent at least a week learning how to read analog clocks, but I never could get it because it made no sense to me. It was bad enough that that it would be five o’clock at least twice a day and you couldn’t necessarily tell them apart except for those brief periods in fall and spring when one five o’clock would be dark and the other would be light, but then Daylight Saving Time would start or end and screw everything up. The hour hand was short and the minute hand was long even though an hour is long and a minute is short and the second hand was frequently the same length as the minute hand. My teacher pointed out that you could see the second hand going around but that didn’t help much either because I was bored and spent a lot of time fixedly watching the clock so I could see the minute hand moving too as it got closer and closer to when it was time to go outside for recess. And that was the one thing I had to look forward to because this was in the middle of winter and there wasn’t going to be a lot of daylight left when I got home so I had to take what I could get. Then as I got older everything went digital and learning to read an analog clock turned out to be almost as much of a waste of time as learning the quadratic formula. Sure it’s fun at parties but other than that it’s one of those things I’m just never going to use.
At least the days getting shorter is a temporary thing and we don’t live anywhere near either the north or south poles where there are days when the sun barely comes up over the horizon and the nights are really, really long. Although I think that would be kind of cool to experience. It makes me think of the summer I worked the night shift at a printing plant. I used to be a real night person, and I guess I still l am since I get up for work so early it pretty much is still night. It was a great job because the printing press broke down every two minutes and took two hours to repair so I had a lot of time to read. Then the sun would come up and that’s how I knew it was almost time to go home because the place only had an old analog clock. And when there was work to be done I did it even though I had no clue what I was doing. It was good because something about the night shift just jived with my circadian rhythms. As a kid I always thought the term was “cicadian rhythms”, because cicadas spend thirteen years underground sucking tree sap, and in that job that was an appropriate metaphor. I was in the dark and I’m pretty sure as an employee I sucked.