Sunday, March 11, 2007

Daylight Savings Time should be abolished

By Nancy Jane Moore

The government stole an hour from us this morning. 2 a.m. suddenly became 3 a.m. They claim this "saves" daylight.

Of course, this is complete nonsense. No matter how many laws we pass, the number of daylight hours in a day will stay exactly the same.

But, since most of us are slaves to the clock -- we have to get to school and work at specific hours -- we've lost an hour of daylight in the morning. The idea is that we make it up in the evening.

This is supposed to save energy, though apparently whether it really does or not is an unsettled question. There is some speculation that, in the U.S., we spend that "extra" hour of daylight in our cars, not out puttering in the backyard. I don't think an increase in driving is likely to save a lot of energy.

Meanwhile, kids are standing at the school bus stop in the dark. And here in D.C., where the traffic jams start at 5 a.m., it's going to be pitch black during more of morning rush hour.

For people like me -- who like to wake up when the sun comes up -- DST is a real pain. I want that hour in the morning, before I go to work.

I am not a morning person. Morning people are those who like to get up at some ridiculous hour even though it's dark outside. I am a sunlight person. I hate to get up in the dark, but I start waking up as soon as I see a bit of light. Since I can't go to work any later than I already do -- and since I'm not likely to get out of work in time to enjoy my "extra" hour of sunshine until the days get a lot longer -- I've been robbed.

Congressman Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who introduced the bill that made us start DST three weeks earlier, says DST "puts a smile on everyone's face."

Well, I'm not smiling, Congressman. In fact, I'm downright grumpy. Markey may be doing a great job of agitating against torture -- which I applaud -- but he should be stopped from tinkering with our clocks.


Mike said...

I disagree with you. I am an evening person and greatly prefer it to stay light later. With it now being light until past 8 PM, I can do yardwork and outside chores in the evening after I get home from work.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

It depends on the job, of course, but it seems to me that many people who want that extra evening hour could go to work earlier and leave earlier.

Diane Silver said...


Guess I split between Mike and Nancy. I hate, hate, HATE losing the hour this time of year. (I was robbed!!!!) But, I do so love gaining an hour in the fall. It feels like I have so much more time.

It's all make believe anyway.

What really irritates me, though, is the silly law Congress passed to force us to change to using a different TV.If the marketplace is all powerful and wonderful, why not let the market decide on which televisions will be popular.

Ugh... and so it goes on a Monday morning.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

My original piece was probably more focused on my grumpiness at losing that hour of morning sunlight just as the sun was starting to come up early enough to make it easy to get to 7 AM Aikido class. But my true problem with daylight savings time is that I don't really think it's doing anything useful as far as saving energy. It causes a lot of confusion -- magnified this year by the fact that the dates changed -- for little or no payoff.
I'd be glad to reconsider my position if someone could show me how it really saves energy. And I wish Congress would actually pass some laws that really do address the energy question -- like, say, increasing the average mpg required from new cars, for example.
As for the TV issue, Diane -- are you talking about the new digital TV signals, which I guess will require us to get new TVs if we want to be able to see them. I don't know enough about this to have an opinion (besides the fact that my idea of when to replace a TV is when the old one breaks and not a minute before, so I'm not inclined to want to buy a new one), but apparently the digital radio signals are allowing stations to broadcast more than one program at a time. I don't have a digital radio receiver (the radio ain't broke either), so I don't quite understand how this works and I'm not convinced it's better for anybody but the broadcaster.