I feel like I should defend Daylight Savings Time. There are a lot of arguments for doing away with it or making it permanent, which amounts to the same thing. The original proposal was intended to cut down on candle usage, which is no longer applicable, and I’m not sure it provides much if any savings anymore. The closer you get to the equator the more days remain the same length throughout the year anyway which is why most equatorial nations don’t even bother with it, and, as a side note, I really like the fact that Nashville, Tennessee and Easter Island are in the same time zone. So are Nashville and Lawrence, Kansas, and, having been there a few times, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the amount of daylight.
And that’s where my defense of Daylight Savings Time springs, or falls, from. Even though our standard method of dividing the day goes back at least as far as ancient Sumer it’s still entirely arbitrary. We’ve collectively agreed to use the same times—if you agree to meet someone at seven p.m. that’s not just a time that the two of you agree on but that’s standard for billions of other people, which is an amazing feat for a large and complex society. It’s even more amazing when I consider the fact that I can’t get my microwave and my oven to agree on the same time—the microwave always lags about two minutes behind—even though they’re both in the same room. And where would we be without the stupid jokes we can make about time? Ask my friend John what time it is and he’ll probably tell you, “The same time it was twenty-four hours ago.” There are also smart jokes about time, like this one by Steven Wright: “I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”
The shortening days also mean that, because I stick to pretty much the same work schedule year-round, there are mornings when I’m at work before the sun is even up, and when I’ll knock off after it’s set. At higher latitudes this must be even more extreme. The changing of the clocks sets this back a bit. I get a few extra days when I go to work after dawn, even though the shortening days eventually mean I’m back to starting in the dark.
We also live with three dogs and they have no idea what the clock says. There are days when I wish I didn’t either, but that’s another story. They only know when the sun comes up, or when their stomachs tell them it’s time to eat, and the time change means there’s a brief period when my wife and I get to sleep in a little later, especially on the weekends. Even though we get up at the same time, according to the clock, the dogs don’t know that the clocks have all changed, and neither do their stomachs.
So why not keep Daylight Savings Time? What have we got to lose, other than an hour?