Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Problem with Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time (DST) sucks. As every year passes, I get more and more sensitive to forces in my life that jack me around, and this silly time change is one of them. Can someone tell me why we do this, other than mandated ritual? Sure, lots of folks like having more daylight at the end of the day. But I hate DST for a couple of reasons.

The first is that it’s all well and good to move your clock around, but the one clock that doesn’t reset that easily is the most important one of all, i.e., the body clock. The clock on my OS X menu says it’s 10:16 p.m.; but as far as my body is concerned, it still thinks it is 9:16 pm., too early to go to sleep. By the time I do get sleepy it will be at least 11 p.m. if not 12. The clock is going to go off at 6 a.m. regardless of what time my body thinks it is. There’s a good chance I’ll still be tired.

People who want to find some heart-rending reason for this scheme say it’s so that school kids can walk to school in the daylight. But is that more dangerous than putting them in the proximity of a nation full of drivers who are still tired because their body clocks have not yet reset? I don’t think so. Few kids walk to school anymore, anyway. They usually drive or are driven. Don’t believe that? Try to get out of my subdivision in the mornings between 7 and 7:20 a.m. It’s an exercise in either "super-patience" or "daredevil-darting-into-traffic"; take your pick. A high school is right next door.

There are plenty of studies that show overall productivity is down the day after this time shift. With jobs in decline, it would seem like we really couldn’t afford that or would want it.

Secondly, living in the hot summer south, having more daylight at the end of the day works against me. Working out until the sun is almost or completely set is asking for a heart attack or heat stroke; with DST that sunset doesn’t occur in summer until almost 9 p.m. Such late sunsets also work against me as a pilot trying to get some nighttime in my logbook. Because they occur so late, trying to fly at night during the week becomes problematic unless I’m on leave or on holiday.

I’ve looked around on the Net for a good reason for why we make this change, and I’ll be dammed if I can find it. My wife and I have been looking for jobs out west again. This seems like a pretty good reason to take a stronger look at Arizona. Not only would I get out of the swamps and into the Desert Southwest but my clocks would continue to revolve throughout the year without any help from me.