ISN’T IT TIME we stopped messing with the time? Every time we are forced to comply with daylight savings time by putting the clocks an hour ahead, my inner clock goes woozy. I wake up at all hours of the night to check the clocks. Then I worry that I didn’t change the clocks before I went to bed, so is it 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.? Did I change just some of the clocks? If so, which ones?
It’s even worse in the morning. Did I spring forward or fall back? Did I get it right this time? Am I the only one who has sprung back and fallen forward?
Why, oh why, do we have to go through this silly business twice a year? And how do you avoid changing the batteries in the smoke alarms twice a year, instead of just once, because you can never remember which time change concides with the battery time change?
The cats in the kitchen and the birds clustered around the feeder get really suspicious when their food comes an hour early. But it’s worse later in the year, when the clocks go back. You can’t explain to them that their supper is going to be an hour late because the government insists upon daylight savings time coming to an end. They just think the government hates them, and they hate you even more for kow-towing to the government.
Usually I forget to change the time on my wrist watch. I don’t like to mess with it because it’s also an old-fashioned self-winding chronometer. Three times it has guided small yachts across oceans with the help of a sextant, but now it’s a poor little orphan. No sailor needs a mechanical chronometer any more. Everywhere we look there are chronometers. Time is all over the place, accurate to the second. Quartz movements are on cell phones, computers, TV sets, radios, stoves, microwave ovens, car dashboards, GPS receivers, and lord knows where all else. They’re even in cheap clocks and watches. They’re all darned chronometers now.
Yet despite this plethora of fine, accurate time, easily accessible to everyone for next to nothing, we have to keep messing with the clocks. All except Arizona, that is, where they have more sense and stick to Mountain Standard Time all year round. It must be nice to live in Arizona and only change the smoke-alarm batteries once a year.
I just don’t understand this strange compulsion to keep putting clocks back and forward. I mean, if you want to start work or school earlier, why not just go ahead? Start work earlier. See if I care. Why drag the whole country into it? It makes too many of us severely crotchety.
Last week we passed a birth-control bill. Now we are trying to pass a law to put the people to bed an hour earlier.
— Frank L. Gill, State Senator, Colorado
“Let’s stop here. This looks like an ideal place for a picnic.”
“It must be. Fifty million mosquitoes can’t be wrong.”
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