Sunday, March 08, 2015

In Defense of Daylight Savings Time

     By the time that you read this, Company, you will already have sprung your clocks ahead.  Somewhere during the middle of the night you will have lost a whole hour of your precious little life in a feeble attempt to offset the hour that you relived - Groundhog Day style - back in the fall.  All in the name of Daylight Savings Time, an antiquated notion regarding how we all keep time that not everyone observes, and which is observed slightly differently and arbitrarily by those of us who do choose to observe it.
    That is the problem with time - that it is arbitrary.  Time used to be simple, man.  When the sun was at its highest point in sky it was noon where you were standing and life was good.  But then the railroads came along and things got impossible.  If you have trouble with one of those "A train leaves Baltimore..." math questions, imagine if there was no uniform time being kept and there was no way to tell exactly how far apart that station in Baltimore is from the other station in Wichita where the other train is leaving from.  So the railroads turned to something even more ridiculous and greedy and untenable than they themselves were: The government.  And as it is wont to do, the government went ahead and fucked time right the hell up.
     They sort of did a good thing because they got together with all the other countries and sort of decided how they wanted to do it.  And it made sense for the most part.  Until a couple of things happened: 1.) Some countries gave the right to administer time within their boundaries to their political subdivisions like states or provinces and 2.) Countries realized that time was arbitrary and they could mess with it however the hell they wanted.  So you have issues like China which has decided to put its entire country on one time zone instead of the four that it really should have under the original system, so that at its border with Afghanistan there is a FOUR HOUR time difference from one side of the pass to the other.  Or you get the weird half hour time zone that they choose to have in Newfoundland because...well, I suppose they do it just to be dicks.  And then people started living in cities and things REALLY got messed up.
     See, we started living in apartments and working in offices and factories before we really got around to mastering electricity, so we could only do worthwhile things while it was light outside.  That is why older building have really big windows all over them, or at least big window spaces.  So someone noticed that it was often dark at inopportune times and decided that if we moved the clocks we could have more light while we were trying to do stuff.  Then, once they started to have some energy crises and they realized it helped to save money, it was here to stay.
    But things are different now.  All the young people who are starting to be in charge of posting things on the Internet these days are starting to rebel against Daylight Savings Time.  As we have been ramping up to the springing forward all I have seen is article after article crying out that we need to abolish Daylight Savings Time.  Wipe it off the face of the earth.  "I mean, it is just a human designed thing meant to benefit us humans so we can do with it what we want, right?  Plus, our iPhones sort of have a problem with updating it automatically so I am not sure we can keep it.  It is just an antiquated idea from a much different time."
     No.  There is your answer, dirty hipster.  No.  We need to keep Daylight Savings Time.  Sure it is inconvenient to change the two clocks in your house that don't automatically do it for you.  And yeah, I worked in a hotel during one of the changes and it sucked dick because there were three clocks in each room and there were like sixty rooms and it took me forever.  And yeah, when you work overnights there is no way that you don't get screwed on time change night.  I get that.  But Daylight Savings Time still holds important cultural and social significance that makes it relevant.
     First of all, everybody who is able to be asleep on the fall back night loves it.  An extra hour of sleep that I get without losing an hour of my day that I need to binge watch Arrested Development on Hulu Plus?  Sign me up!  No one ever complains about getting the extra hour of sleep.
     When the spring forward time comes, it is a little more complex.  The change in time to make the light be out longer at night, when it magically goes from sunset at five to sunset at six, that effect if positively magical.  And in a way it is magic, because it is nothing more than altering reality to make things appear differently.   But that is okay.  With one rotation of the minute hand on your watch, suddenly summer is here and it is here in a hurry.  It gives hope.  Something you desperately need after a long winter.
     Okay, so maybe the arguments for keeping Daylight Savings Time are a little flimsier than those against it.  I understand.  But that doesn't mean that it has to go away, does it?  Sometimes the value in doing certain things is simply in the fact that we do them.  It is just a part of us.  Just like springing forward and falling back.  So let's just keep with it.