by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
March 11, 2008
THE LOST HOUR
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- They call it Daylight Savings Time, but how can you call it "saved" if you find it at the end of one day and lose it at the beginning of the next?
Usually, I awaken at 5:30 and listen to soft music before getting out of bed at dawn, around 6:30AM - until a week ago, that is.
This week dawn did not "come up like thunder." The sun didn't creeping over the horizon and into my bedroom window around half-past six. No, it slid in over the windowsill at 7:30. Yikes! I have to move. Any day that starts with the stress of running late is not a good day. And this week has not been a good week.
I haven't heard even one person hail the arrival of Daylight Savings Time. I've heard yawning tales of jet-lag from people who haven't been flying anywhere, and I've heard of people taking the dog out in the dark and having to wake him up to do it. But nobody is happy.
My recollection is that this early hour of daylight was supposed to benefit farmers, who get up early, in preparing the ground for spring planting. Instead, they're disturbing the slumber the entire farmland before the cock crows. "Cock-a-doodle-do," crows the sleepy rooster, "that's my job."
It seemed to be less bothersome when we started this plan by "springing" ahead in early April and "falling" back at 2AM on the first Sunday in November. It never made sense to me, even if Benjamin Franklin - a most sensible man - originally suggested it.
This year, I've learned we'll save 10,000 barrels of oil per day with the extended daylight hours during the extra three weeks of DST's appointed term.
How can that be? Working people won't have to put their lights on when they arrive home at night, but they'll have to turn them on when they wake up in the morning. Is that taken into consideration?
I've always been in favor of making a farmer's life easy. I've never known a more hard-working occupation. They rise at dawn and work until dark. Yet they also lose an hour at one end or the other during these early days of Daylight Savings Time.
Perhaps I wouldn't feel so put out if I didn't live with a clock collector. We have 42 clocks in the house. We have chiming clocks, chirping clocks, cuckoo clocks, clocks with swinging pendulums and ship's clocks that have bells chiming every 15 minutes with maritime charm. On the fireplace there is a Lincoln clock. Some clocks are rare, some are ordinary - collected for any reason that suited my husband's fancy.
A week ago, just before we went to bed, he changed two important ones. The rest took the greater part of Sunday, until I finally said, "Stop now. We're only going to have to change them again in November. I can live with the Greenwich Time clock in the kitchen."- That large wall clock is never wrong and never needs changing. By some miracle of science, that timepiece changes itself.
He agreed and climbed down from the ladder. We'll just remember the correct time.
But I know I'll never remember. I'll pause whenever I look up at a clock on the wall and then look at others to see which one is on daylight time. I generally trust my cellphone and computer to tell me the time, anyway.
Daylight Savings Time has spread to Europe, where it's called European Summer Time and runs from the first Sunday in April to the last in October, as ours once did. It's observed in almost all of the United States with the exception of Arizona (where Native American reservations reject it), Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico.
The reasons the several states and territories don't observe DST and change their clocks has to do with their closer proximity to the Equator, where the days are fairly regular in length all year. As for the Indians, I bet they just don't like the idea of trying to fool the sun, or the seed corn, or whatever.
I can try to rationalize the idea of losing an hour now and gaining it back later, but for me and for those I've heard from, it's a whole lot of trouble for very little gain. Although, if losing an hour now means saving 10,000 barrels of corn oil a day, well, there'd be something to say for that.
Visit longtime AR Correspondent Constance Daley at her Website.