By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Daylight Saving Time arrived on Sunday with its usual confusions:
If it’s an hour later than it was at the same time yesterday, that means it looks like it’s actually an hour earlier.
Or maybe it’s the other way around? So it’s darker longer in the morning, which means it will mean dusk will come an hour later, which is the whole point, right?
Anyway. It’s supposed to save energy, so we keep it around longer and longer as years go by. And the only real reason we don’t keep it around all the time, I understand, has something to do with agriculture, maybe?
It saves energy because theoretically, it’s one more hour you can go without flipping on lights.
On the other hand, it’s one more hour in which you run the air conditioner on a hot day. As incandescent lights get swapped out for fluorescents, which use about a quarter of an incandescent bulb’s energy, and LED lights that use maybe 15 percent, that extra air conditioner cost starts to overshadow the light issue.
I suppose I appreciate daylight time. Theoretically, it means there’s one more hour in which to frolic after you get home from work, but I seldom use that hour for its intended purpose.
I’m a morning person, so I resent that added hour of freezing in the dark in early March. Daylight time does come in handy when you want to barbecue your dinner on a work night, though.
Mostly I miss the hour of sleep you lose when the time changes. You don’t regain your equilibrium from that imbalance for the better part of the following week, so that’s five to seven days in which you greet the later sunset with the thousand-yard stare while your body tells you it’s supposed to be dark.
It’s not just a matter of going to bed earlier. Your circadian rhythm, your day-night cycle, gets knocked out of whack. It’s jet lag without the long-distance vacation to soften the blow.
New Mexico’s western neighbor Arizona doesn’t recognize daylight time. For the most part, Arizonans don’t recognize Barack Obama as the president, either, but that’s beside the point.
In the months of daylight time it’s the same time in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix as in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco. But that means it gets dark about an hour earlier by the clock in Winslow, in eastern Arizona, than in San Francisco, which is about as far west as you can get in California.
History says daylight time started in Germany and Austria-Hungary in April 1916. Two years later, they lost the war. They were trying to save coal for the war effort, but with that hour of sleep gone, it just might have been harder to get the guys excited about another dash across the minefields of no-man’s land.
Maybe the mass jet-lag of Daylight Saving Time accounts for why so many people make the “saving” plural. It might even account for the story that taught me that lesson. A former supervisor told me about an editor he used to work for who actually fired a subordinate editor for not catching the erroneous plural in copy.
I think the grumpy editor should have stayed in bed longer on that first Sunday.
Steve Hansen is the managing editor at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at shansen@