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DST Madness!

November 17, 2010

It’s long past the start of autumn’s time-change, I know. But better late than never. Sorry… bad joke. :-p

Daylight Savings Time is annoying and inconvenient at best, especially in the Spring, when it means that many of us gets one hour less for sleep. Many of us don’t understand WHY we have this ritual of turning back the clocks one hour for Fall and turning the clocks ahead one hour for Spring. It does interrupt normal sleeping patterns, causes confusion on appointments and work schedules, and decreases productivity of work, as people have to get use to the time change. So why do we do this and who’s bright idea was Daylight Savings Time?

It was Benjamin Franklin who came up with the idea, while in Paris, 1784. Many were smitten with the idea, at the time, as it was meant to strengthen the economy, by gaining all the sunlight possible in the winter and summer seasons. Winter is the season where the sun hours are so few and summer is the season where sunlight is plenty. The more sunlight used, the more time spent at work and for businesses. Also it’s means the longer that farmers can stay in the fields and grow crops, within a day. It was designed with the economy in mind, but actually there is no evidence to support the idea. In fact, there is data to prove the opposite. :-/

So, why do we still do it? Tradition! And also many people love the longer summer evenings, created by DST. But for us fast-paced, city-folk, it’s a huge inconvenience every season. Some countries and US states don’t use DST and can escape that madness. I happen to live in a State, where we do have DST. And every year, it’s confusing and chaotic for me! In Spring, I’m lacking an hour sleep, which makes me grouchy and sleep deprived. I do adjust, in time, but it takes a couple of weeks for my internal clock to reset itself. Our bodies have an habit of sensing when it’s our sleep time and our rising time, in spite of what time the sun sets or not. You can change a wall clock at will, but the internal clock takes a while to catch up! :-o

Also, I have a lot of international buddies, and a best friend who lives across the US, in another State. So, there are timezones to consider. It’s confusing enough for me to remember timezones as they stand, but when DST happens, it’s even more chaotic. One year I had freaked out, because I thought my friend was late to chat with me, by one hour.  Nope, I was just EARLY by one hour, as I had mixed up with the difference. And times that I believe that my friends in Europe are online, it was suddenly not correct. I’m easily confused, in general, but DST makes my confusion worse. :-p

Arizona, Indiana and Hawaii are the only US States that do not observe Daylight Savings Time. I envy them, as they never have to run forward in the Spring, then run back in the Fall, then back again in this crazy tag-game with time. 6am will stay 6am, all year round for them. And it doesn’t seem to hurt their economy or work production at all. Lucky!!!

Don’t get me wrong, Benjamin Franklin was a very good inventor, idealist, author, printer, politician, postmaster,  civil activist, and one of the  Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Whew! He was a great man that did a lot of great things, that we still benefit from today. But, I believe that DST is not one of his best ideas. He was still human, after all. ;-)

-D

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