Messing With Time

Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone, which means that Arizona should be two hours behind Columbus and other locations in the Eastern Time Zone. Yet, when we arrived in Tucson for our recent trip, we learned that it was three hours behind us. What gives?

It’s because Arizona doesn’t recognize Daylight Savings Time. As a result, Arizona swings from Mountain Time Zone time, during the part of the year when other states are on Standard Time, to Pacific Time Zone time when those states switch to Daylight Savings Time. The only exceptions to this are the portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona; those areas follow Daylight Savings Time.

Arizona is officially part of the Mountain Time Zone, as a result of the 1918 Standard Time Act that established the American time zones. But Arizona’s effective time changes from Mountain to Pacific because Arizona asked for, and received, an exemption to the federal law that established Daylight Savings Time. According to the first article linked above, Arizona wanted to be excused from springing ahead and falling back because it gets hot there in the summer, and going to Daylight Savings Time–which means the sun doesn’t set until about 9 p.m.–would ensure that it stays hot until later in the day and defers any relief from the blazing temperatures.

It’s weird to think that one state can be excused from the time rules, but Arizona isn’t alone: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also don’t recognize Daylight Savings Time. Those other states and territories probably also have good reasons for their approach, too. That’s our federal system for you.

Another Hour Of 2020

I had a bad dream last night, cried out in my sleep, and woke Kish up. As I rolled over to try to go back to sleep, I looked at the clock and noticed it was precisely 2 a.m. It’s probably not a coincidence that 2 a.m. is the specific time that Daylight Savings Time ended, and the clocks were being set back an hour. My subconscious may have sensed that and cried out in horror at the thought of adding an hour to 2020. As I went around the house today, changing the clocks, I decided that the experience should be memorialized in bad verse:

Another Hour Of 2020

We’ve worked to stay strong,

And tried not to cower,

But we grimace at adding just one more hour.

It’s already too long,

We don’t want to extend,

No, we all just want 2020 to end.

The year has been cursed,

And unremittingly sour,

Why prolong the misery with one more hour?

We’ve been looking forward

To when this year is done.

And it’s time to celebrate that it’s 2021.

We don’t want another,

No, sir, we’ve had plenty!

We don’t need another hour of 2020!

Once More Into Darkness

I may be the only non-farmer in America who dreads the “spring ahead” point in the year — which happens tonight, in case you’ve forgotten.

Why? It’s not that I don’t like having sunshine later in the evening, for sure. No, it’s because I walk Betty in the morning and we’ve just gotten to the point where the sun peeks over the horizon during our morning walk time — as the picture of one of the Schiller Park aerial sculptures that I took recently shows. With clocks moving ahead an hour tonight, Betty and I will once more be plunged into darkness on our morning stroll. We’ll have to deal with a few more weeks of darkness before the lengthening days give us sunshine at 6 a.m.

Spring, Ahead?

Daylight Savings Time is here!  That means this morning we “spring ahead,” and reset all of our clocks exactly one hour later, so the daylight will last longer at night.

“Spring ahead!” in the spring, and “fall back!” in the fall.  It’s easy to remember, isn’t it?

Except, what if it isn’t quite spring yet?  Here in Columbus, it’s a bracing 24 degrees out on this crisp, cold, dry morning, and we’re looking at a high of 43 — if we’re lucky.  Temperatures in the 20s and 30s?  That’s not what I call spring-like weather, when the air is supposed to feel moist and there is a faint scent of growing plant life on the sultry breeze.  Here in the Midwest, unfortunately, it feels like we’re trapped in the icy grip of Old Man Winter, and he just won’t go away gracefully.

There needs to be a Daylight Savings Time saying for this unending winter condition, too.  How about:  “Don’t mess with the clock when the cold is a shock”?  Or:  “The time shouldn’t be changed when the weather is deranged”?

Or maybe we need to work with what we’ve already got, and just make a few punctuation changes here and there.  Instead of “spring ahead!” we should go with “spring, ahead?” instead, to acknowledge the concerns of those of us who wonder whether blessed, sultry, promising spring will ever get here.

 

The Maine One-Hour Time Shift

Maine is in the Eastern Time Zone. So is Columbus — which is located in the heart of the Midwest, hundreds and hundreds of miles west of Maine.

So how does that work, exactly? It’s simple — coming to Maine is like doing a second round of Daylight Savings Time. The photo above, with is dusky sunset glow, was taken at about 4 p.m. here in Stonington. It will be pitch dark by 4:30. In the morning, the sun rises a little after 6. Everything happens an hour or so earlier in Maine than it does in Columbus. Ben Franklin, the father of Daylight Savings Time, would love it here.

Speaking of everything happening an hour earlier here, I’m late for cocktail hour.

An Extra Hour

“Spring ahead, fall back.”  The shifting of hours and the changing of clocks in connection with Daylight Savings Time has been going on for as long as I can remember.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to appreciate the “fall back” part of the process more and more.  What the heck!  It’s autumn, and it’s getting colder.  Why not stay snug in your warm bed for an extra hour?  And after staying out later than normal last night, getting home after midnight after enjoying the Buckeyes’ drubbing of Illinois at Ohio Stadium, the extra hour of shut-eye is even more welcome.  The fact that it’s a shivery 28 degrees outside just confirms the wisdom of this timekeeping sleight-of-hand.

So I’d like to thank the ever-creative Benjamin Franklin, who came up with the concept of Daylight Savings Time in 1784 as a method to save on candles.  I’d like to thank the New Zealanders, Brits, and Germans who helped to popularize the idea, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who implemented the idea in America as a war-time measure during World War II.  And I’d like to thank the United States Congress, which enacted the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to finally implement Daylight Savings Time as we now know it.

Ben Franklin was all of 78 years old when he came up with the idea for shifting clocks to save a candle or two.  You think the idea might have been motivated by the notion of getting an extra hour of sleep on a cold autumn morning?

Spring, Ahead?

IMG_5961On this morning walk I spied a most welcome sight: a few tender, trembling, bright green shoots had pushed through the permafrost. Could spring, and warmth, and color, and flowers, actually lie ahead?

Speaking of spring ahead, be sure to set your clocks an hour ahead if you haven’t done so already. And if you’re cursing the jerk who first came up with this idea that costs us an hour of sleep each spring, his name apparently was Ben Franklin. Richard has a good story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that gives a bit of the back story.

Fall Back, The Clocks Are Attacking!

You never fully realize how many clocks you have in the house until it’s a “time change” Sunday and you have to patrol the household and make sure that every time-keeping instrument is set to the correct hour.

IMG_5298It’s a day that shows how beholden we are to time.  We’ve got clocks on our phones, on our computers, on our stoves, on our microwaves, and on our TVs.  There’s a clock on the dashboard of my car.  We’ve got standalone clocks and alarm clocks and clock radios.  We have more than a dozen clocks in our two-person, two-dog household — and that’s without any wristwatches, because I stopped wearing one years ago.  It’s hard to believe that our ancestors lived for generations without having any kind of timepiece telling them it’s 6:56 a.m.

When it’s time to actually change the time, I develop a special appreciation for computers and smartphones that automatically adjust to Standard Time.  The Sunbeam alarm clocks are next on the simplicity appreciation meter, because you can quickly change the position of the hands on the clock with a twist of a knob on the back.  The clock radio and the microwave are a little bit tougher, because you have to hold down a button and hit another button until the time adjusts to the new normal.

And then there is the clock on the oven, which was designed by some sadistic engineer who wanted to torment sleepy people on a Sunday morning in November.  I can never figure out how to change the clock, so after a few half-hearted attempts and some well-chosen epithets I give up.  After all, it’s only a few months until Daylight Savings Time rolls around again.

Spring Ahead, Swans Back

IMG_3341Two hopeful signs of spring this weekend:  this morning I saw that the swans have returned to our New Albany pond, and tomorrow morning at 2 a.m. we will all “spring ahead” into Daylight Savings Time.

With the swans dunking their heads and long necks into pond water that was frozen only a few days ago, and sunshine that will last well into the evening, can spring be far behind?  Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead tomorrow!

Those Annoyingly Chipper “Spring Ahead!” People

Yesterday I was going through the checkout line at Kroger when the disturbingly exuberant checkout lady piped:  “Remember to ‘spring ahead’ tonight!”

I understand that Daylight Savings Time requires us to adjust our clocks twice, at what seem to be increasingly random and ever changing points during the year.  Obviously, it’s something you need to be aware of, so you don’t show up an hour late for an important meeting on Monday morning.  But is it really something to be so darned chipper about?

My guess is that the people who gaily remind everyone to “spring ahead” are the same people who like being called “peppy.”  They probably were on the high school cheer squad and student council, voluntarily sat in the front row and then talked to the teacher after class, kept a detailed “secret diary,” and talked incessantly to their friends about their “pet peeves.”

Have you ever noticed that no random people you encounter during the day remind you to “fall back”?  That’s because the Chipper Brigade loathes the idea of spending an extra hour in bed and doesn’t want to dwell on it.  On the other hand, the “fall back” people aren’t going to bother you — they figure you’ll figure it out eventually, and in the meantime they just want to get some more sleep.

Fall Back and Spring Ahead

Well, it’s that time of year again when we have to turn our clocks back for Daylight Savings Time. For those of us that are still working, it will now be light when we leave for work in the morning and pretty close to dark when we leave to go home at night.

I just started reading a book on Ben Franklin and found this list of some of the inventions he created one being the suggestion of saving on candles and use of oil lamps by using natural light. One of the things I like about Ben Franklin is the fact that he didn’t patent any of his inventions. He believed that “as we benefit from the inventions of others, we should be glad to share our own”.

It’s too bad that more people don’t think like Franklin when it comes to putting the good for all ahead of the good for one or a few.