November 04th, 2019
Well here it is again folks, the Monday after the time change and that means it's time for my annual anti Daylight Saving Time rant.
Daylight Saving Time is an absolutely ridiculous concept because time is just an artificial construct anyway. The sun comes up, the sun goes down exactly the same way it always has. We are the ones who have segmented it and then arbitrarily assigned numbers and words and significance to those segments. There. I said it.
For a change I did some actual research pre-rant this year. And I learned something that truly surprised me. I have been operating under a false premise my entire life regarding the origin of Daylight Saving Time. I was wrong. Completely Totally and Entirely Wrong! (by the way, this is not unprecedented)
Growing up I was given to believe that the reason for Daylight Saving Time (and yes, that is correct, saving - singular not savings - plural) had something to do with allowing farmers more daylight hours for planting in the spring. To my mind, that kind of sort of made sense. We used to be a far more agrarian society and yes, it's nice to be able to see what you are doing when what you are doing is as important as growing the food that feeds the entire country.
That information could not have been more wrong. In fact, Farmers were opposed to the idea.
As it turns out, way back in 1895, a fellow by name of George Hudson in New Zealand, who had a hobby of entymology (the study of insects) proposed a plan for a two-hour time shift to allow him more daylight hours for his avocation. Yes. This is where it all began. With a bug guy. There were some rumblings as his proposal was considered but it didn't move forward.
In 1905, William Willet, an avid golfer, began making the same noises since the "early" dusk cut short his golf game. His proposal was only a one hour time change. Again it was considered but did not pass. But it was only a few years later, in 1908, that Ontario Canada was the very first to enact Daylight Saving Time. But they were quickly followed by Germany, Great Britain and Russia. The USA came on board in 1918 as did most of the rest the rest of the UK and Europe.
There have been a lot of adjustments, fiddles and changes through the years but the concept remained. The most unsettling part to me about the entire debacle is the reason we were given. We've been told that it was primarily for energy conservation and public safety. Interesting.
In my research I read the results of many studies and any actual energy savings is negligible. And of course dependent on where the study was done, geographically. When it's hotter out in the summer time, people are running air conditioning and/or fans. That certainly isn't saving any energy. Of course to be fair, back in 1918 AC wasn't an option.
Public safety? Well according to what I'm reading there is a 1975 study indicating a .7% decrease in traffic accidents during Daylight Saving Time. But there is a 1976 study showing absolutely zero change in number of traffic accidents during DST. Interesting.
Overall, I'm reading that the folks most in favour of keeping Daylight Saving Time are retailers and businesses related to tourism. Farmers don't operate according to a clock. The begin to work when the sun comes up (or a wee bit before) and the work ends when the sun goes down regardless of what the clock says.
Most opposed? Nearly everyone else.
Medical professionals write about how bad the time change is for our health. Mucking around with people's circadian rhythm is a bad thing. It is, by now, common knowledge, how important a good nights sleep is for everyone's over all health, physically and mentally. And for those of us who perpetually fight insomnia, DST is a nightmare - pun intended. I already have trouble sleeping, why are you complicating things???
For babies, small children and animals it is utter confusion. They cannot read a clock. And if they could they would not care. They all operate on tummy-time. If they normally eat a 5 o'clock but it's spring time and the time has changed and now come tummy-time 5 o'clock, they are ready to eat and they say so. And their parent/owner says, nope sorry you have to wait an hour. And they say, "What the actual hell? I'm hungry now! I always eat now! " And the parent/owner says, "Sorry kiddo, the time has changed". Their response is, "But my tummy says it's time to eat now! I've never known my tummy to be wrong before!" Upsetting animals, babies and small children! That just doesn't seem right does it?
A smaller level of annoyance is changing the clocks. Some are easier than others. Obviously the computer driven ones change themselves. But there is always some clock somewhere that has to be changed manually. The one in the car, which is really aggravating to change. And then there is the one on my stove. And the pain-in-the-arsesidness level of changing the time on that one means I have to be in Just the right frame of mind to tackle it. The one in the car I never change. As the year goes by and the seasons change, I just know when to mentally subject an hour from the clock on the dashboard. It's alarming to my passengers, but I know what's up.
To date, Florida, Washington (state), Oregon and California have all passed bills to enact permanent Daylight Saving Time and are awaiting Congressional Approval to do so. Most of the states in New England have proposals to do the same. Hawaii and Arizona have already opted out of the time change nonsense completely. All in all, 26 states are trying to transition out of this bizarre rigmarole. Which is more than half. And I think that proves that we are all completely over it.
It's time for the Feds to just say, 'enough of this crap' and the entire country not have to go through this preposterous nonsense twice a year.
I know that considering everything going on the world, adjusting to an hours time change here and there is no big deal. But why make life harder than it needs to be? Let's start making positive changes with the littlest things first. Without losing that hours sleep arbitrarily every year, maybe our brain functions will improve enough to help solve other, bigger problems!
Sometimes it really is about the little things in life.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.