What difference does an hour make?
60 minutes can change a life, depending on how it's spent–some say you've altered your path forever by simply missing a bus. This weekend, the planet–well, MOST of it–shifts as one and springs forward one hour. Daylight saving time (I've finally joined the finger-wavers who insist it's singular, not the plural “savings”) is upon us. Cursed by some, loved by others, foisted upon us all.
A world that can't agree on anything will, in the middle of the night, come together to advance clocks 60 minutes forward. Think about that for a second–almost all of us will be showing up for our appointed Sunday rounds on time as if nothing happened. Computer systems that run our most vital services will seamlessly keep things running with no fear of having to crank up a generator or hit your stash of end-of-times provisions in the basement.
You DO have end-of-times provisions, don't you?
Radio partner Jane Matenaer gives CDT the big Eff-You for reasons she can better explain on her own time. Me? A minor inconvenience, changing clocks and all but no worse than what everyone else has to deal with. The switch gives us all a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the automobile manufacturer's guide book, left to it's own devices in our glove compartments 363 days of the year but put to hard use on two days–when we leap forward and then back–after we finally give up and admit to ourselves that no, we don't remember how to change the clocks on our dashboards.
Personally, the switch is welcomed for the extra daylight it brings to the backyard patio a day's end, a time for bonding with the Green Egg or Traeger after a hard day slaving over a hot microphone, along with the odd beer/wine or three. We don't get many warm days and nights in these parts, and if we can spent more of that time with sunlight involved, well, that's a plus where I come from.
But then it becomes time to go to bed. For 99% of you, that's a job done in the dark. For those of us doing what I do when I do it, it means hitting the rack when there's still an hour or so of daylight left. I've had friends in morning radio who've installed black-out curtains or used other devices to turn their bedrooms into caves, devoid of nature's light, all to make their bodies think it's midnight in the dead of winter instead of a warm summer's evening. If you've ever worked a goofy shift (defined for our purposes here as anything other than a traditional 8ish-to-5ish workday), you've probably had to try to beat your natural circadian rhythm into submission, too. It's been a personal struggle since age 20 when my first radio over-lords decided I was destined to do morning news in Stevens Point, a job that came with a 1:30 a.m. wake-up call.
I've been calling that “Monday through Friday” the past 42 years, so I've made a career out of trying to convince this body that THAT is normal. It's probably why my hair turned prematurely gray, why you can pour a glass of water over my eyes and not a drop will hit the floor as all of it will find a home in the lines/creases around my eyes. It's taken a small ocean of caffeine over those years to convince a mind that wants to sleep that it has to be it's sharpest when the show starts at five a.m. and a river of hooch to take the edge off at day's end, to tell the brain it's time to wind down. And, like most people my age, I've come to realize that the highlight of many a day is the afternoon nap–oh, where have you been all of my life?
DST bashers come armed with studies that claim the twice-a-year-one-hour-shift is doing irreparable harm to us, causing everything from heart issues to depression, high blood pressure to gout. They blame it for weight gain, and say it can lose the war for the Allies (what?!?). Personally, I think many of us are guilty of much poorer, self-inflicted life choices during the rest of the year, ones that probably fuel our collective demises much faster than the odd spring/fall time pivot we do as one.
Should we just move the clocks ahead once and for all, as some suggest, and leave them that way forever? That would still give us our extra evening sun while leaving us enough wintertime dark so that things would seem what passes for normal. That's a debate for others. Higher minds can hash that one out, ones that are well-rested, having existed in a place where you wake up with the sun and go to bed in the dark, not one like mine that's addled from years of making a check doing that sleep thing bass-akward.
Time to change the clocks. Then, put me down for that nap.