Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's this "Daylight Saving"?

Something odd happened about two weeks ago. Everyone around me put their clocks an hour behind the actual time--and because of this silly action, everyone is waking up an hour earlier, and scheduling meetings an hour earlier, and opening and closing businesses an hour earlier as well. And, as they do so, they are claiming that they are "saving daylight".

The kicker is this: the sun still rises at about the same time each morning, and the sun still sets at about the same time each night.

How do I know this? Because I haven't changed my clock. I still wake up at around the time the sun gets up (after acknowledging it, I'll typically go back to sleep), and I still go to sleep sometime after the sun goes down. Thus, I have had plenty of opportunity to check whether or not we get more daylight. Yes, it is unfortunate: all those people who have changed their clocks in an attempt to save daylight, have done nothing of the sort!

I have always hated Daylight "Saving" Time. Even when in high school and college, when I didn't exactly have the best of sleeping patterns, I could tell how changing the time I sleep really messes up the way I feel. At one point, when I was still in high school, I even tried to ignore it--but I gave up, when I was almost late to Church, based on some confusion as to what so-called "Daylight Saving" did to time. Since then, I resigned myself to my fate, and have since put a bit of hope that my State Legislature would finally get around to repealing Daylight Saving. Perhaps it wouldn't have mattered at the time, anyway. As a student in high school, I would have been stuck with the same rigid timeframe anyway.

As I pondered my dislike last year, though, I thought: "Why wait for the Legislature to do something that I have the power to do myself?" So I decided I would not recognize Daylight Saving that year, to see what it would be like. And this is what I noticed:
  • It's nice to make the "transition" from "Standard" to "Daylight Saving" without changing my sleep pattern at all. This was possible because I have flexibility in determining my work hours.
  • It's not too difficult to mentally adjust times that other people use. You just have to remember that everyone is doing everything an hour earlier than they say they are!
  • It's more difficult to catch up on hours missed in work. Because external meetings (say, my Linux User's Group, or my wife's Book Club) meet an hour earlier during this time, I have less time to squeeze in an extra hour of work before I go home.
  • It's a little weird when something on the radio says it's five o'clock, when it's really four. Partially for this reason, but also because my wife still recognizes Daylight "Saving", I changed the time on the clock radio in the kitchen.
  • There have only been a couple of times where I missed something because of mixed-up times. It turns out that both these times, though, it wasn't because I was on "Standard" time that I was confused, but because I was completely confused as to the proper time of the event itself.
So far, I have been alone in refusing to acknowledging Daylight "Saving" Time: my wife, both last year and this year, has insisted on changing her clocks. I would like to see what this little experiment would be like, if my entire household would just keep the proper time! Since we're likely to home-school my oldest, starting this year, I may have more success next year in convincing my wife to go along with this experiment :-).

Unfortunately, this year, I haven't had the benefit of undisrupted sleeping patterns. Due to headaches, migraines, and random sickness, I have been sleeping in longer than I would like. Thus, for the past two or three weeks, I've been meaning on waking up an hour or so earlier. Since Daylight "Saving" Time reared it's ugly head, I decided that now would be a good time to do that! So far, I've been getting up an hour earlier, but have been trying to get up an hour-and-a-half instead.

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