Saturday, March 09, 2013

Just pick one, for goodness sake...

Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 am tomorrow morning, which means that between tonight and tomorrow morning the semi-annual ritual of resetting our clocks will take place. Of course, with computers and cell phones that automatically adjust their clocks, it is much easier to deal with the physical ritual. Still, that doesn't help my internal clock adjust.

Bottom line, what the time change means is that I will spend the next week or two in a foul mood while my body and my mind adjust to the sun coming up and setting an hour later than I'm used to.

I really hate Daylight Savings Time, and not only for that reason. I've always had this silly notion that when it gets to be evening, the sun is supposed to go down, the sky is supposed to darken, and I should be able to see the stars. Yes, in some ways I'm an old-fashioned girl.

Daylight Savings Time has had a varied history in the United States since it was first introduced in 1918, with its first introduction by Congress overturned after World War I ended and too many complained about the change. Congress passed a new law abolishing DST, which President Woodrow Wilson vetoed. Congress promptly overrode the veto. Some states, however, stuck with Daylight Savings Time until it was again mandated, this time by Franklin Roosevelt, in early 1942, after the US entry into World War II. It was called "War Time" and continued in effect until the last Sunday in September, 1945, after the war ended. The next year, many states adopted DST for summer use.

The federal government did not step into the regulation of time again until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 in order to standardize time across the country. The Act required the observance of DST from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October, although individual states were allowed to opt out as long as the entire state did so. Several states did opt out, but most eventually began to observe summer DST. The last time I checked, Arizona and Hawaii were the only holdouts.

There was another experiment with year-round DST during the OPEC Oil Embargo in the 1970s, when DST was implemented between January 6, 1974 and April 27, 1975 as a way to save energy. This experiment was not much of a success after the act requiring DST year-round was amended so that the country went back to Standard Time from October 1974 through February 1975 after concerns were raised, especially about children having to wait for school buses in the dark on winter mornings.

As much as I grouse about Daylight Savings Time, however, I would be happy if the government would just pick one time and stick with it. As much as I hate the late sunsets during the summer, the difficulty of physically adjusting to the time change twice a year is worse as far as I'm concerned. And, apparently, I'm not the only one. Huffington Post is reporting that there is a petition on the White House's "We the People" site that asks the federal government to either eliminate DST completely or else stick with it all year round. The petition needs a total of 100,000 signatures by the beginning of April for the White House to respond to the request.

I think that when I'm finished writing this, I'll probably go over there and sign it. It couldn't hurt, and it might get the feds to get off their butts and do something constructive.

Goodness knows, they're not making an progress solving the economic crisis.


Lucy said...

I get so confused by time changes. I can never remember which way round the work, as it were.

I've also been confused by your post on "DST". Here in Britain we have "BST" (British Summer Time) vs "GMT" (Greenwich Mean Time). I think that theoretically one of them gets called "DST", but don't ask me which one.

And you mean that not everyone is the US does the same thing and before 1966 each state could change it whenever they wanted?

My brain is dead.

Kirstin Gallagher said...

I couldn't agree more about either sticking with it or dropping it. It completely messes with my schedule and sleep for at least a week when we spring forward and fall behind. I would prefer to keep daylight time all year because I like being able to see when I walk home from work, but I'd take consistently either way.

littlemissattitude said...

Lucy...Thanks for commenting. I think, based on having written for some websites in the UK and having deadlines all messed up twice a year, that British Summer Time is the same as Daylight Savings Time. the problem was that BST doesn't start until a week or two after DST, and BST ends a week or two before DST ends. So, twice a year, I would have to adjust my working hours for that period so that I'd meet my deadlines every day.

It was really kind of a pain.

And, yes, before 1966, each state in the US could do whatever it wanted with the time, at least according to what I read. The reason for the federal legislation was that business was getting messed up because there was so little uniformity in times and time zones.

And Kirstin...yes, as I wrote in my post, at this point, either way would be fine, as long as they stick to one or the other. It's just after 1 p.m. here as I write this, only my internal clock says that it's noon, and that it was really 6 a.m. when I woke up (way too early) rather than the 7 a.m. tha the clock said. I'll be confused this way for a week or two before my internal clock gets synched up again with what the clock on my computer says.