Looking at the Trump administration this past week, I feel like Iím in a runaway locomotive that is heading at full tilt toward the side of a mountain in which someone has forgotten to carve a tunnel. If you arenít frightened right now, you should be. This is even scarier than Nixonís final week was.
So letís talk about Daylight Savings Time. But donít worry: thereís method in this madness.
Daylight Savings Time, or what we as kids called ďSummer TimeĒ has become deeply unpopular, and a majority of Americans would like to just get rid of it altogether. Thereís even scientific evidence that the self-inflicted twice-a-year jet lag leads to a loss of productivity, and an increase in heart attacks and strokes, especially in the spring when the clocks are moved forward. Itís just one more irritation in a world filled with irritations big and small, and of course the government, having made it an annoying waste of time (literally), will do nothing to alleviate it.
When I was a kid, Daylight Savings Time was great. It came at a time of year, late April, when the last of the dust and gravel from the winter had vanished from the streets, the tulips were topped by fat buds with hints of the colors to come, the days were warm(ish), and suddenly, magically, you had time for three more innings of baseball after dinner. It marked the end of Unlocking and the beginning of true summer. It was a glorious event. It was Summer Time, and it was special.
The first week of October marked the beginning of Locking. The leaves were beginning to turn, the evenings were crisp, the mornings chill. It was time to put away the toys of summer. Thanksgiving and the Grey Cup were only weeks away (this was Canada, after all) and the NHL would be starting soon. Locking had begun, with the promise of the winter to come, and it was right that the evenings would darken, softened by the extra hour of sunlight on school mornings.
The time shift, which began was a need by plutocrats to squeeze more work out of us, meshed with the seasons and our moods. It was almost organic, and gladdened our souls. People set their clocks ahead and smiled at the warm days to come. In fall, it heralded another welcome transition. People moved their clocks back and settled in to get cozy.
In the 1970s there was the APEC crisis, and Congress decided to extend daylight savings time in the vain hope it would save energy. It didnít, and eventually the crisis passed, making the point moot, but Congress wasnít about to admit they were wrong and set it back to where it was.
Another, smaller energy crisis struck in the Oughts, and the Congress, now mostly twisted and broken minions of twisted and broken plutocrats, could think of nothing better to do to deal with it than extend DST again, this time from the second weekend in March to the first weekend in November.
I remember early March. It was just barely light when I awoke, and when washing my hands in the kitchen, I would look at our neighborís north-sloping roof, hoping to see gaps in the snow cover where the eaves would appear. At least the giant icicles of February had fallen. The trip to school was a slog, wet cold winds, rain or snow, or both. It was the rotten part of late winter, where the white ice had melted from the streets, old man Campbell had shut down his rink because the ice was too rotten for skating, and the berms were crunchy foul nightmares of black gravel and automotive soot and dead things caught by the plows. ďSummer TimeĒ began, not only before the snow had melted, but before it even stopped snowing. The pussy willows, the bravest harbingers, hadnít even budded yet. Worst of all, oneís mornings were slammed back to the latest sunrises of the year, the hopeless dark of a mid-winter morning. School began at first light, a phenomenon of which everyone was already heartily sick, having gone through it in early January.
The end of DST is an even more meaningless. Evenings are already dark and cold, the leaves have all fallen, and as the cold and dark encroach, we are tormented by the false gaiety and emotional blackmail of the Mass of the Christ Commercial. Suddenly, itís dark before dinner, and the faint gray light of November mornings are no consolation. Saying goodbye to summer is like grieving for your great-grandfather who died twenty years before you were born.
The time change has changed from an accentuation of the seasons to just another bloody pain-in-the-ass regulation foisted on us by a corrupt and uncaring government.
Is it any wonder people have learned to hate Day Light Savings Time?
Thereís been a spate of articles lately about how people are depressed an alienated, crushed between the millstones of runaway capitalism and a corrupt and twisted government.
And now we see the end game of the fascistic notion that society should serve the economy, rather than the other way around. A man whose only qualification for office was that he was a good thief is disintegrating before our eyes and threatening to take us with him. The inevitable political implosion is here, and the economy is threatening to follow suit. The media each day reflect how, like the time change, the foundations of society have completely lost relevance to our human needs.
Of course we are depressed and frightened. Any sane person would be.
I think weíll muddle though, and Iím sincere when I write that. But thatís my own optimism, and thatís all it is. The only thing backing it up is ďWell, weí ainít dead yet.Ē
Itís a mean time in our lives, the bleakness of dead leaves in the gutters and a swirl of snowflakes mocking the dying lawns. And now, suddenly, itís dark, far too early.
Set your clocks, and hope for the best.
Posted: March 7, 2018