March Is The Cruelest Month.

Source: Wikipedia

It’s almost that time of year again when we get to crank our clocks back an hour for the madness that is Daylight Saving Time. It’s not just the question of whether we’re springing back or falling forward that bothers me even though, to quote a much wiser man, time is not linear but “it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff.” Or to quote an even wiser woman, the poet Brenda Hillman said,

space thought it up, as in: Let’s make

a baby space, and then

it missed.

And that makes at least as much sense as setting the clocks back an hour in early spring or late winter, whichever seems more appropriate on the given day at a time of year when one day it’s sunny and warm and the next day it’s sleeting and I swear I won’t be surprised if I go outside tomorrow and there’s fire and brimstone raining from the sky, and I’ll just say, well at least it’s better than trying to drive on ice, but that’s another story.

It’s not that I mind losing an hour of sleep and, after having gotten used to getting up after the dawn having to go back to getting up in the dark for a couple of weeks. It’s that I really, really, really mind losing an hour of sleep and having to go back to getting up in the dark for a couple of weeks. It seems like only a little over a month ago that we looked to a Pennsylvania groundhog to tell us whether we’d have an early spring or six more weeks of winter, mainly because it was only a little over a month ago, and the spring time change seems timed to fall exactly at the moment we’ve either forgotten it or that, either way, winter is coming to its end and then spring this shift that gives us at least a couple more weeks of winter whether we were supposed to get it or not. I suppose it could be worse. I’ve talked to World War II veterans who told me that when they were in boot camp they were on “Double Daylight Saving Time”, meaning that they were told they’d have to report for breakfast at six a.m. but it was really four a.m., and all because their platoon had been secretly taken over by the Nazis. Also there are parts of the United States that are exempt from Daylight Saving Time for various reasons. I’ve been told this usually applies to rural areas because farmers get up so early anyway it’s not fair to make them get up an hour earlier, especially at the very time of year when everything they planted in the fall is just starting to get up, and most crops are notoriously bad at telling time.

This morning my wife and I were on our way to work and, to quote another wise woman, she said, “Just think. This time next week we’ll be coming to work an hour earlier.” And it took me about four hours to process that because even without the time change it was just too early to process that level of information. And it doesn’t help that we live in an area that should be in the Eastern time zone but, if you look at a map, you’ll see that we’re in a weird little carved out spot of the Central time zone because originally this was a rural area and the farmers didn’t want to have to stay up until eleven p.m. to watch the news.

All that Daylight Saving Time really does is remind me just how arbitrary our means of measuring time are, but then I think it could be worse and that at least all we’re losing is an hour of sleep and don’t have to deal with some of the other crazy ideas that have been tried like Distance Savings, a Depression-era plan that attempted to save fuel by reducing the distance between all areas by one mile, or, from the 1890’s, Sesquennial Year Savings, when the entire month of March was skipped and then September was held twice. Actually that doesn’t sound so bad since March is when Daylight Saving Time starts.

8 Comments

  1. Arionis

    I’m going to be “that” guy. We actually set the clocks forward this weekend. Spring forward, Fall back. My wife gets it backwards every time.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, we need “that” guy. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured it out (one of those things that’ll make my wife ask “How old are you?”) but I still get a kick out of reminding people that the way we measure time is so arbitrary. Twenty-four hours to a day, sixty hours to a minute, and don’t get me started on the number of days in a month.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    I would gladly lose an hour of sleep to catch up on your posts, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Knowing I’ve entertained you helps me sleep a little more easily, and is a good reason to get up early.

      Reply
  3. Moonwatcher51

    I have not had enough coffee. Oh the thinks we thinks…oh something like that. It could be worse. 24 hours daylight or darkness for example. Hang in there!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Egad, you’ve reminded me of how lucky a lot of us are to not live near either of the poles where there are times of the year of 24-hour daylight and others of almost as much darkness. I don’t think I could take that.

      Reply
  4. Spoken Like A True Nut

    If you heard the sound of a massive sigh somewhere around 10:15 Pacific time this morning, that was me remembering that the clocks go forward this weekend.

    Do not want.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I wondered what that noise was. It sounds like that sigh is also being echoed across the continent. We should have a weeklong holiday after the time change so everyone can adjust before we have to go back to work.

      Reply

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