Winter’s Final Screw You

Dali's Persistence of Memory

Photo by ahisget, used under Creative Commons

No, not Jim Winter’s final screw you. I mean winter, the season. Snow and single-digit temps in March? Are you kidding me?

Then there’s the switch to Daylight Savings. Frankly, I wish they would just leave it on Daylight Savings. It’s not worth the extra hour of sleep in the fall since you lose it in the spring anyway.

Supposedly, there’s a move afoot to divide the continental US into two time zones and do away with the time change. I really wish this would gain some traction. For starters, I loathe Standard Time. By the time I get home from work between Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day, it’s dark. WTF?

I know a lot of people don’t like getting up in the dark. But you’re going to work? Who cares? I’d rather have my long evenings. I just feel more motivated.

And this year, with the polar vortex taking one last swipe at the country before winter gives way to spring, I’m just ready for the dark part of the year to end.

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Daylight Savings: Winter’s Final Screw You

clocksI’ve made it clear what I really think of standard time. It comes in an hour late in the fall, steals an hour of daylight from our ever-shortening days, then slips out early, stealing an hour of sleep on its way out the door.

It’s like winter (The season, not me) is saying “Screw you, bastards,” flipping us its meteorological bird as it rides off into the now-later sunset.

On the other hand, daylight savings brings an hour of daylight in the evening and leaves you with an extra hour of sleep as it goes. The reason I hate standard time is it’s so friggin’ DARK!

Smashed alarm clock memeThis may come to an end in the foreseeable future. There is a move afoot to divide the United States into two time zones: Eastern and Western. It would be noon in New York and 11 AM in Los Angeles. (Not sure about Alaska and Hawaii, but I have to think they get a time zone, too.) And the time change? What time change?

I’m all for it. No more artificially cutting off the end of the day. It will take some getting used to, but the time change that starts all this?

You’d only have to do it once.

Tonight, The Tyranny Of Standard Time Begins Anew

Tonight… Well, tomorrow morning at 2 AM, we set our clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep. Or in our case, we get an extra hour to party with my sister-in-law, whose birthday is today. To quote Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”

That’s right. On the far side of this extra hour of sleep comes the tyranny of Standard Time, or as I call it, The Dark Time. Sunset is arbitrarily moved up an hour so that, by the time I get home from work, the sun is already sitting on the horizon. Come December, during the week, I will not have a single hour outside of work lit by the sun. I will have been robbed of daylight.

A friend of mine used to complain that it’s worse for her and her family. They live in Vancouver where the weather is warm in winter, but the sun goes down before 4:30.

The older I get, the more susceptible I seem to be to the shortened days. I had a really rough bout of depression last Christmas, one that almost sent me to the doctor to ask if the Happy Pill Du Jour was right for me. Thankfully, I snapped out of it. Most antidepressants cause weight gain, which I can do without. It just makes the underlying problem worse.

Many people complain about Daylight Savings Time because it starts with losing that hour of sleep. True, but you have more daylight at the end of the day. I prefer to think of it as Standard Time snatching that hour away on its way out the door. I do understand the need to move the clock back an hour in December and January. If we didn’t, sunrise would be as late as a few minutes after 9 AM in many places. This may not bother you if you live in Sweden or Moscow, where the winter days are so short this would not make much of a difference. And in parts of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, they get no daylight for weeks or even months. But here where daylight rules for as little as eight hours and can go as long as fourteen hours, the loss of the sun during the evening commute is jarring and stressful.

I have a modest proposal. Instead of switching the clocks back and forth twice a year, let’s just stay on Daylight Savings Time all year. Then, twice a year, on a Monday no less, federal law will require all employers to allow people to sleep in one hour. Not only do we keep the sun at the end of the year, but we get an extra hour of sleep on top of that one we get tomorrow. And on a Monday.

What’s not to love about that?