Twice every year there is an opportunity to be a time traveler. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. Because it’s not actually time traveling. It’s an arbitrary rewinding and fast-forwarding of time. For an hour. Just one single hour. And for what? Today, the special guest in the hot seat is daylight savings.
Imagine blinking your eyes open for the first time in the morning. Maybe there’s some sunlight streaming in through the curtains. Perhaps some birds are chirping. You lazily roll over to grab your phone to check the time and maybe scroll through some of your socials. And that’s when you discover the shocking news. You are late. By a whole hour. How could this have happened? Oh, I know who is to blame. Daylight savings.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, a bill regarding daylight saving time (DST) was approved and signed by Richard Nixon in January 1974. There’s the first red flag. The point of this new time change was to maximize daylight in the evenings. By default, the law would help ease the national gas crisis that was going on in the U.S. Messing with time seemed like a smart plan. It always does, at least in the movies.
However, this bill permanently changed the time to be ahead of normal. This caused issues by increasing the dark winter mornings. In a Washingtonian article, Andrew Beaujon recalls how eight Florida school children died in car accidents after the change in time was made.
Eventually, in October of 1974, Gerald Ford revoked the permanent daylight saving time. Today, we have a system of “spring forward” and “fall back.” Once in the spring and once in the fall, everyone has to remember to reset their manual clocks. I’m talking cars, stoves, microwaves, old-fashioned alarm clocks, grandfather clocks, basically, anything that isn’t internet-connected must be changed. Chances are that you have multiple of these things in your home. What happens if you forget to change one? You’ll be stuck living either in the past or the future until something snaps you out of it.
The benefit of daylight saving time is clear in the fall. We gain an hour of sunlight. But I have several problems with this.
First of all, I love sleeping. So, in the fall, when things are starting to get a little chilly and the air is crisp, I love to get that extra hour to sleep in. But in the spring? When the air can be equally as chilly and crisp, I have to wake up an hour earlier. In those moments, I am not at all grateful for the extra hour I had earlier. I am furious.
Second, it’s just an hour! Why does it even matter? Such a big nuisance for such a small amount of time. It’s not like we are getting, I don’t know, like, donuts for breakfast too. We get sunlight. This leads me to my next gripe.
No matter what time you say it is, human beings can’t control the sun. I could say it is midnight right now and set my clocks to agree with me, but it’s still going to be light out.
Why does everyone have to change? If you want more sunlight, just wake up earlier and go to bed earlier! It’s none of my business that farmer John needs more light to water his wheat field. Why should I have to wake up earlier just because he does? I totally support farmers, don’t get me wrong. But not everyone needs that extra daylight.
Don’t even get me started on sleep schedules. An hour difference might not seem like much, but trust me, as a person with a younger sibling, it definitely makes a difference. I remember when my little sister was young enough to take naps, and just the little hour change would completely throw off her sleep schedule.
Now think about parents with multiple children of napping age. If those parents have to wake their kids up an hour early for daycare while they work, then those kids’ nap schedules are going to be thrown off. Sometimes it takes several days for a young child to readjust to the new time. And then, when the “fall back” time comes, those kids are going to be used to waking up at an earlier time, so the parents won’t even get to benefit from the “extra” hour that is still in the same 24-hour day.
Maybe I seem crazy for having such a passionate disdain for daylight savings, but I am not the only one. Recently, there has been a bill created to stop the biannual changing of the clocks and keep a permanent daylight saving time. According to The Hill, this bill has passed in the Senate and is currently stuck in the House. In accordance with the new bill, DST would become permanent in November 2023.
I am a big fan of this new bill, and I really hope it passes. I mean, come on, have we learned nothing from television? When is it a good idea to tamper with time and mess with the space-time continuum? Never. It’s not like there is an entire trilogy based on this concept. Let’s be safe rather than sorry and just leave time travel to the experts.
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