It’s hard to remember. This Sunday, November 4, do we fall back into last year’s tired old arguments in favor of or against Daylight Savings Time? Or do we fall forward into what seem like new arguments, but really aren’t because everything that can be said has been said? Fall back or fall forward? Given the dangers of us older folk falling, it seems like we’d remember.
Not everyone has to remember whether to fall back or fall forward. It is said that less than 40% of the countries of the world use Daylight Saving Time today. 107 countries have never used DST, and of the 142 countries that have tried it, 67 have stopped and gone back to Standard Time all year long. This leaves only 75 countries presently using DST. (Which to me seems like 30% of the world’s countries, but then my handheld calculator fell back off my desk, or maybe it fell forward, and may not be accurate.)
I get up early enough that it’s dark no matter which time we’re using. But if I was still in elementary school, I don’t think I’d like to be trekking to school in the dark, which many kids do in the fall up until the first Monday of November when we change to Standard Time. Symbolically, still in the dark is not a good way to carry your homework to school.
If you are for Standard Time all year long, you can sing the following ode to the tune of “Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone!” Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone. At least not much in the early morn, ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone, and you’re always gone too long, anytime you go away. And you’d have a point. Standard Time abandons us for roughly 7.5 months per year. Presently, we only have 4.5 months of Standard Time.
If you are in favor of keeping Daylight Savings Time, you can sing along with the Beach Geezers to the tune of “California Girls,” The West Coast has evening sunshine, and the golfers get so tan. I dig an eagle and a birdie not a bogey on the holey and staying out of the sand. And you’d also have a point. We don’t save any time with DST, we just whack an hour down the fairway so that people who work have a chance to recreate of an evening.
I prefer Standard Time all year long mainly because the switch to DST in the spring messes with my body clock. I have a very sensitive circadian, and the loss of that one hour of sleep makes me tired for the rest of the year. The condition is called ACRC, Acute Circadian Rhythm Chaos. The switch back to Standard Time this Sunday won’t even help. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature by pretending that seven o’clock is six o’clock.
Some polls show that as many as 74% of Americans want to drop DST. But I don’t expect any action from Washington or from the NM State Legislature, which, like Arizona, could opt out of DST if they wanted to.
Politics won’t settle the issue. We’re a nation of individuals, so let’s choose which one we like and stick with it. The waitress asks which I want, “Red or Green?” referring to chili on my enchiladas. The barista asks if I want room or not, referring to cream or milk in my coffee. The receptionist at the dentist office asks if I want to settle up now or should she bill me. Why not people who ask me what time I’m on, Standard only or a Standard/DST blend?
When America went to DST in 1966, my grandfather’s brother – we called him Uncle Alfred – refused to go along. For the rest of his life he lived on Standard Time. The stores were generally open no matter what time he went, and if church was letting out when he arrived, well, he didn’t like the preacher anyway. And I once observed a practical method that can be adopted to deal with individuals who decide for themselves which they’re going to observe, Standard only or a Standard/DST blend.
I had taken my mother to an appointment with a doctor in Lubbock – Texas being in the Central Time Zone. She lived in Roswell – New Mexico being in the Mountain Time Zone. Lots of people from Eastern New Mexico go to Lubbock for the hospital or doctors. As I sat in the waiting room, I heard the receptionist say to a patient who had called in by phone, “Your appointment is at 10:00 a.m., but where are you coming from? New Mexico? Then your appointment is at 9:00 a.m. your time.” She said it time after time, clearly stating both Mountain Time and Central Time.
We can do the same thing with Standard Time only and a Standard/DST blend. For 4.5 months they’re the same, no problem, but even after other people switch in March to DST, things will work out. If I stay on Standard Time and decide to stop at a 7-11 Store, I just need to remember that for 7.5 months of the year it’s an 8-12 store.
Or is it a 6-10 store? It’s hard to keep these things straight, but it’s the price one pays of not trying to fool Mother Nature.