Sunday, March 09, 2008

Daylight Saving Time is Pointless & Stupid (Or I'm So Delirious from Lack of Sleep I Have to Rant About Something)

I hate daylight saving time (DST). I mean, what is the point? Are we really fooling our bodies by messing with our clocks? My son woke up at 6 a.m. and I couldn't fall back to sleep because my mind is thinking it's really 5 a.m. and you have to get up in half an hour for church. And my body is saying, "Fat chance, lady. I ain't moving. You went to bed last night at midnight (11 p.m. pre-DST), remember?"

DST is not such a big deal for adults. I mean, what's a few days dragging your half-dead self out of bed and staring at the ceiling for an hour at night while you try to convince yourself to fall asleep sooner? But when you have small children, all hell can break loose. Now all your appointments for the next week or two have moved up an hour, but your kids' bodies will stubbornly remain on the old sleep/feeding schedule.

Take church for instance (which is a day that messes up the baby's nap/eat schedule anyway). If it starts at 9 a.m., I plan to be up at 6:30 a.m. (6 if I want to eat anything besides a stale granola left in the bottom of my purse). I've got to shower, dress, and eat before the kids get up. Then, if the kids normally get up at 7 a.m., they've got to be feed, dressed, and hustled out the door.

But when DST happens, the kids now get up at 8 a.m. and have to be fed and dressed by 8:30 to get loaded up and on our way to church. My 3-year-old is the slowest eater on the planet, and takes an hour to eat his Fruity Cheerios because he has to fish out each one singly with a minimum of milk, and then spoon up each drop of milk while talking incessantly about his Thomas train, going on the potty, wanting some juice, etc. Trying to cut breakfast short will cause an outburst of "My circles! My circles!" and an effusion of tears.

Then 10-15 minutes must be allotted to dress each child, which is like putting clothes on a couple of monkeys. My 3 year-old has to do a lap around the room after each article is put on, while my almost-mobile 7 month-old squirms, shrieks, and knocks everything off the changing table. See the problem? My only hope of being on time (no matter how early I get up) is by opening a wormhole. I suppose I could wake the kiddies an hour earlier, but I'd get two outcomes: 1) a grumpy, crying, uncooperative kid or 2) a zombie not-fully-awake-for-another-hour kid. Neither outcome is desirable for punctuality.

Supposedly, DST saves electricity by reducing the amount of electricity used in the evenings, but studies have been unclear on this (see Wikipedia for a great article on the history and controversy of DST). But it is clear that it does increase revenue for retailers, tourism, and athletics. Farmers don't like it harvesting often is best done at certain times of the day.

It turns out that DST was not proposed by Benjamin Franklin, but by some guy named William Willett in 1907. One of the reasons was that Willett wanted to play golf later into the evening during the summer. Franklin's contribution to DST, however, was only satire. According to Wikipedia, Franklin "anonymously published a letter suggesting that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. This 1784 satire proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise." That's some funny stuff--mostly because it's absurd, but it could happen given the fondness for silly nanny state government regulations in Europe. Imagine being awakened at 5 a.m. by a cannon blast. I think that would lead to an armed rebellion in the U.S. No one messes with my beauty sleep!

In conclusion, I'd prefer that the government keeps their hands off my clock, circadian or otherwise. Moving to Arizona, which doesn't do DST, never sounded so good (if you can overlook the whole "hotter than Hades" problem).


Kirsten said...

Go Arizona!! I always knew they were on to something! no daylight savings time here!

Kirsten said...

PS "but it's a dry heat."