Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer on Daylight Savings Time



Art Print

Elsley, Arthur...

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Bed in Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

-Robert Louis Stevenson

I have long disliked Daylight Savings Time. I could never make sense of it. I don't know what Benjamin Franklin was thinking... you can't make a day any longer than it was going to be anyway (hasn't been done since Joshua's day). And if it does save daylight for whatever reason, why in the world don't we do it in the Wintertime instead? The days are long enough in the Summer-- I don't think we need any help there.

If people want to get off of work, have dinner, and enjoy the rest of the day (one of the reasons to have DST, we are told), why not shift the hours of work to end at 4 or 4:30? Even then, a lot of businesses don't follow a set model anymore-- hours of operation have been extended in stores and other businesses so that the shifts are not always 9-5.

There are those two dreadful times of the year: getting on to DST and getting off of DST. It takes a long time to shift routines and schedules. And, which I find very interesting, the time shift happens on a Saturday night, which always makes it difficult for people that go to church on Sunday Morning. In the Autumn (when the hour "falls back") you are safe, but that Sunday in Spring (when the hour "springs forward") church attendance is lower.

My children have discovered another reason not to like Daylight Savings Time: bedtime. It isn't that we put them in bed extra early in the Summer, it's just that by the time the hour is late, they realize that it could be an hour earlier. If the sun sets at 9 PM, they see the benefit in the clock being put back to normal time of 8 PM. Then, they conclude, they can stay out into the dark playing until the "real" 9 o'clock. They have taken to reminding me what the hour is in "real time."

Some people don't care what time it is, "just make it one way or another." They would be happy if we just shifted to DST through the whole year, or stayed on regular time the whole year. I advocate just letting it be... stay on the "old" time all year. I would enjoy experiencing it for once in my life.
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