Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Daylight savings

First, daylight can't be saved.

There is a set amount of daylight in any given day, and all we do when we mess with the clock is we shift the workday earlier in that time period. That makes the evening longer, sure, but you can look at that as squandering daylight just as easily as you can look at it as saving it. If you have lots and lots of daylight--if, for instance, you have more daylight than darkness in your 24 hours, then you could say that this trick is saving an hour you didn't really need in the morning and attaching it to the evening is pure lagniappe, letting us enjoy lazy barbecues without turning on an incandescent bulb anywhere.

But wherever you put that hour, it's gone by sundown. You can't hoard them and give yourself an extra day down the shore on Memorial Day weekend. It just doesn't work that way.

If you have less daylight than darkness in your day, and you are already desperate for time at the beginning of your day to get everything done, and your spouse and (barking, disruptive) dogs wake at 5:30, which has just been moved closer to the middle of the night, and your toddler wakes at daybreak, no sooner, and the days had just become long enough to get her to school on time without misery, then a valuable, greatly appreciated morning hour has been tossed down the garbage disposal of the evening. Worse still, it has been used to encourage the return of later bedtimes. It is all-around a lousy idea. Let's go back to the April date. Write you Congressfolk, willya, people? Even you Washingtonians have a sort-of vote, now!

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