What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

10 March 2007

Let's save some daylight!

Another time change is upon us.

I grew up in Indiana, which was one of the three states (Arizona and Hawaii, I know someone was wondering) that did not observe daylight saving time. As a result, when I moved to Texas I spent many hours grumbling about the stupidity of messing around with the clocks twice a year. For me, the gaining of an hour in the autumn in no way compensated for the week's worth of stumbling about that ensued for me each spring. A six-hour time change hardly affects me at all; give me one hour of difference, and I spend a few days impersonating a drunk.

And in Indiana we had such lovely early mornings; I loved the sunrise at 5 AM; it was a small price to pay for a short evening. My parents live in a small house outside town that is surrounded by fields on all sides, and it was such a treat to wake up to the sound of farm machinery in the summer. We had no air conditioning, so we slept with the windows open (and, not infrequently, the curtains, too), which meant the fresh air, sunshine, and sounds of tractors could come right in. It was brilliant. This is why June has long been my favourite month. I realise I'm waxing nostalgic here; it was just as likely that we would wake up to rain, or the smell of freshly killed skunk, as the nicer things I've mentioned. However, with that kind of awakening all summer long, it is a small wonder that I was huffy about daylight saving time.

For someone, somewhere, decided that daylight should not be just for those of us who like fresh air at 5 AM. "We should save it for later in the day, when normal people are awake!" I'm sure they said. "Save it from being chopped to bits by farm equipment! Save it from bizarre Hoosier teenagers who don't know they are meant to sleep until noon!" And, the final convincing argument: "Think of all the money people would save if they didn't have to turn on their lights for another hour each evening!" So, what we have here is money saving time, not daylight saving. And, if all the statistics in the newspaper are to be believed, lives are also saved because people have more daylight in the evenings to drive in.

And, sad to say, Indiana also caved a couple of years ago. Which created a whole new slate of problems for them: people who lived on the edges of the state had been time changing along with Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan for years, to the point that Indiana has long been split into two time zones. (By the way, there was an amusing episode of The West Wing that factored in Indiana's strange relationship with time; told you there is a TWW episode for every aspect of my life.) I don't know how they finally resolved this; since I do not live there, I find it hard to care what, in the words of my grandmother, "this idiot new governor" is doing. And she is probably right; after all, you never saw Senator Bayh messing around with the time when he was governor. If he ever runs for president, I may vote for him based on that alone.

So the point of all this is, I have come round. I am happy that the time change is coming early this year, because I no longer wake up at 5 AM because of a tractor across the street. (On the contrary, I wake up at all hours of the night because of sirens all over the place.) I like the longer evenings. I am a bit distressed about going to work in the dark for a few weeks, but again, it is but a small price to pay. And if all the government says is true, I am looking forward to a lower electricity bill.

One final thought: It is dayling saving time, not savings. There is no sale on daylight. Sorry.

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