It’s March! Spring Forward for Daylight Savings! For most of my adult life I have disliked the twice-annual time-change. It screws with my sleep patterns, gets the US out of sync with the rest of the world, messes up the daughter’s bedtime and has occasionally caused me to be up in the middle of the night making sure computer scheduled jobs didn’t run twice or not at all. Whether springing forward or falling backward, I’ve never been a fan. I won’t lie, I did rejoice when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extending Daylight Savings by a few weeks. I do enjoy the daylight in the evenings since I’m really not a morning person… but it’s such a pain to keep switching. And changing the clocks. About 12 years ago I spent a lot of time and money researching and purchasing clocks that would keep themselves in sync and automatically adjust to daylight savings changes. They never worked right. Invariably, right after I would manually adjust all of the clocks in the house, the power company would blink the power on/off and make me do it all over again. Watching the stove, oven and microwave all blinking 00:00 at me I determined that I would be OK with perpetual Daylight Standard. Imagine a world where there were fewer pitch-dark mornings and we could set off the summer fireworks BEFORE the kids bed time!
But… what if the U.S. of A. could say “screw you” to the rest of the world, leap forward an hour… and stay that way? A federal bill, possibly inspired by NJ’s own bill from 2019, is moving through Congress to make it so. A billion patches to phone/computer/scheduling software is a small price to pay and we have done it before. Twice! From 1942 through 1945 the U.S. was in perpetual daylight saving “War Time”. We instituted it again in the 70s during the “energy crisis”. Unfortunately, in winter with the clocks forward an hour, the sun will not be fully risen until after 8. Any morning commute – including kids waiting at the bus stop or walking to school – will be in the dark until 7:45 or so. It eventually was a rash of pre-dawn car accidents involving children that ended the 1970s experiment after only 2 years. Maybe we saved some energy but the price was high.
That was then and this is now. While the energy we use is greener than it was in the 70s, our average usage has more than doubled. It’s not really about the energy savings anyway. When it gets dark we don’t turn off the A/C, stop microwaving burritos or unplug our phones (and cars if trends persist). Nobody really believes this is about energy savings. We just like getting home from work before it is dark out. The morning issue is real but fortunately we also have a lot more crossing guards and school buses (not to mention hyper-protective parents and school districts) than we did 50 years ago. During parts of the school year, my middle-school aged daughter will have to leave the house before it is light out to get to school on time. I’ll have the same issue getting to work on days I actually go into the office. But that’s really only for December and January. In the summer, it will be as though nothing has changed! It will be light from around 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Hooray for the long days! The rest of the daylight-savings countries will be in sync with us and all will be well with the modern world. Crank up the A/C, grab a cold one from the fridge, a hot one from the nukerowave and Let There Be Light!
It will be interesting to see if this passes and if other countries follow suit but I just hope something comes of it. Whether the country goes for forever standard or perpetual savings, I’m all for it. Just leave my clock alone!