Daylight Saving Time began March 11 when 2 a.m. Sunday did not occur. Instead, clocks jumped from 1:59.59 a.m. to 3:00.00 a.m.
Being on Daylight Saving Time causes two problems:
• Waking up in darkness.
• Having to reset clocks to start Daylight Saving Time in March and to revert to Standard Time in November.
The early morning darkness does not bother me. As a retiree, I usually rely on my Circadian rhythms to wake me up. Once a month or so, I do not awaken until midmorning. What is the point of being retired if one cannot occasionally sleep until midmorning?
I detest having to reset clocks twice a year — which is why I heartily applaud Florida’s Legislature for its brilliant idea earlier this month. Florida, it suggests, should stay on Daylight Saving Time all year around.
Hooray! A sensible start to sensible timekeeping.
Now, if only Congress will be sensible. (Quit sniggering; it could happen, couldn’t it?)
Congress regulates our timekeeping. It is Congress that gave the Lower 48 four time zones. Congress also decided that individual states or localities could choose to stay on Standard Time, thereby creating great confusion for those of us who have to go back and forth between time zones. But until now, Congress has not authorized any state to stay on Daylight Saving Time throughout the winter months.
If just one state tries to do that, confusion could result.
Florida is an exception. Florida is a peninsula. To its east, south and west, there is mostly water. Only to its north would the change impact border areas of Georgia and Alabama.
If Pennsylvania, by itself, tried to stay on Daylight Saving Time all year long, just imagine the outcry from New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and California. Most of those states border Pennsylvania. Why include California as a protester? California always whines about anything that is not its own idea.
I experience time-change confusion each winter. We sojourn in the Florida Panhandle. A half-hour west of us, in the Gulfside community of Mexico Beach, is the southern terminus of the dividing line between the Eastern and Central time zones. We made a 5 p.m. dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant. “Is that 5 p.m. Eastern or 5 p.m. Central?” asked the hostess.
We blinked several times. The answer was obvious — to us.
“You would not believe the number of people who arrive an hour early — or an hour late,” she said. “It drives us nuts!”
So though Florida could possibly get away with staying on Daylight Saving Time for the entire year, other states’ residents might go bonkers.
Remember earlier when I said that Congress just might be sensible?
Let’s put the entire country on Daylight Saving Time all year long, or at least the Lower 48 states.
That would be sensible.
It would also relieve me of a task that I detest: Resetting the clocks inside our vehicles.
Resetting the clock inside my wife’s sedan is simple. On the dashboard near the clock are two buttons: “H” and “M.” Pressing “H” advances the display for hours. Springtime requires one push. Fall-back time in November requires 11 pushes.
The pickup truck, however, has a whiz-bang mini TV screen that displays radio, Sirius, backup camera, clock, and, for all I know, Vladimir Putin’s Russian re-election campaign speeches.
Finding the clock-change directions buried deep inside the owner’s manual was as disorienting as wandering through the trackless Okefenokee Swamp that straddles the Florida-Georgia state line.
After a half-hour of turning the air inside the vehicle’s cab bright blue, I got the truck’s clock reset — by blind luck. I have no idea as to what buttons did the trick when I pushed them. In November, I intend to synchronize a future service call with the fallback to Standard Time so the service people can do the deed, sparing me the anguish — unless Congress spares us all.
Congress could make life easier for vehicle owners and mechanics everywhere.
Let’s make Florida’s good idea even better: Have the entire Lower 48 stay on Daylight Saving Time all year long.
Staying on Daylight Saving Time would brighten the supper hour and give us more usable outdoor fun time. There is also a cost savings on electricity used for lighting. We would drive in daylight more often, reducing vehicle accidents. Heck, we might even spend more daylight hours in sitting on our porches or walking around our neighborhoods, finding out that the people who live nearby are actually nice folks.
As Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson and Sen. Bob Casey try to wheedle re-election votes out of us despite Congress’ abject failure to govern (See “appropriations bills” as just one example), we should lobby them to save us from darkness.
Much of the opposition to Daylight Saving Time does not come from the time itself. Instead, it is the maddening need to change clocks twice a year that aggravates people.
We can end the angst, I say! Follow Florida!
Daylight Saving Time forever!
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org