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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saving Daylight

If you have been online at all in the last few days, you have probably seen numerous reminders that Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. There have been news stories, reminders, and now, a Ravings of a Lunatic blog post! However, I am not writing this to remind you to change your clocks. I just want to talk about DST and some things I have read about it today that have left me shaking my head. Since there are numerous things that make me shake my head, I will forgive you for the little fit of laughter you just had.

I follow a local television news station through another social network. I do so because I appreciate having little tidbits of news in the stream of posts. Sometimes there are items published that I don't think are really newsworthy, but that's okay. I still have a chance to keep on top of what "everyone is talking about."  That way I can talk about it too, and not seem totally uninformed. I have to admit that sometimes reading the comments people write about these stories can be far more interesting to me than the original stories themselves. These comments are a microcosm of what is going on in our society, and can be like taking the pulse of the public. Of course, you have to be prepared, because you may find just about anything there.

Such was the case this morning. The news channel had posted a reminder to change the clocks before retiring for the evening, because, seriously, who wants to get up at some horrible hour in the morning to change them when it is "official?" Of course, for many of us with insomnia, two or three a.m. and "just before bedtime" can be the same thing, but that's beside the point. As I was saying, there was a reminder to set the clocks back an hour, along with the question of whether people thought DST should continue. Well, I just had to see the comments on this one! And within minutes, I was telling Trent about the comments, some of which were, well, kinda scary in being so far removed from any reality of life. I told him I could sense a blog post coming on. He laughed.

The first few comments I read were along these lines: I hate Daylight Savings Time! I hate that it will be getting dark so early now! We should just stop this! Oh my. DST is not making it get dark earlier! We are now going back to regular time. The rotation of planet Earth on a tilted axis is what is making it get dark earlier. Seasons will change no matter what a clock or calendar might say. The planets don't care what time we say it is; when it is winter, the days will be shorter. Argh! These comments were followed by some people saying what I have just told you, so I am glad to know that there are people "out there" who know how the seasons work.

Then there were the numerous people who said that DST was created to help farmers and ranchers. Since their clocks were set for an earlier time, they could take advantage of the earlier daylight hours. If you have ever known anyone whose life revolves around a farm or ranch, they would probably tell you that this argument holds about as much water as a bucket full of holes. Farmers and ranchers tend to follow the rhythms of nature rather than the clock. No matter what the time is, they will be getting up early, and also working later to take advantage of the longer period of daylight.

My favorites, though, revolved around one person's question: Why doesn't Arizona have DST? Quite simply, because the people in AZ voted against using it. The first answer she received said this, and mentioned that Hawaii and some parts of another state do not use it either. The very next comment said, "Arizona doesn't do it either." Way to answer the question, champ, just restate it as a fact! It makes me wonder if we really read the question before we answer it. Or fully read anything before accepting it as fact. 

None of these comments, however, were able to stake their claim to the blue ribbon, first-place winner. Someone observed that it was a good thing that AZ didn't observe DST because they had lived there and it was too hot for them to make the day an hour longer. Holy mackerel! Some people really do believe that changing the clock makes the day longer! It's a clock, ma'am, not a time machine! Oh, well. Maybe I should try and get an extra hour of rest tonight. After all, I've been told that changing the clocks is going to make these days so much shorter and darker...