Beware the DST, My Friends!

I woke at just a little after 5:00 a.m. this morning, roused by a small furry animal who does not comprehend the latest clock change. I can’t really blame her; my body, too, has yet to adapt to this most recent nonsense of yanking the clocks backwards and forwards according to some mysterious formula which supposedly reduces energy consumption for lighting—lighting!–in an era in which air conditioners and electric furnaces operate year-long, and desktops, tablets, laptops, phones and all manner of other tech devices run ceaselessly, constantly in use, endlessly charging.

I grew up in an Indiana which refused to do Daylight Savings Time. Like Hawaii and Arizona (rational states in which the populace recognizes the salient fact that another hour of heat during the summer months is NOT desirable), most of Indiana, smack in the center of two warring Time Zones, stood in solitary and sane splendor.  Because their populace tended to cross the artificial borders of the various State lines for their work commutes, the northernmost of Indy’s 92 counties aligned themselves with Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, while the southernmost counties aligned themselves with Kentucky.

In actual practice, what all this meant to me, as a State employee, was that the Central Training Unit for which I worked for several years had to constantly figure out some way to gather regional employees to a designated site for a day of training that somehow encompassed different working hours. It also meant that (back when long distance calling rates varied according to the hour) my late friend Anastacia could never figure out what the heck time it was in Indiana when she was calling from Massachusetts.  And the lack of a time change spawned a pretty entertaining Eerie, Indiana episode.

But we dealt. We made it work. And most of us were pretty content with the status quo.

Eventually, though, the Indiana General Assembly decreed that Indy would join ranks with the other 48 split-personality states and do Daylight Savings Time. As to exactly why we were going to do this, I remain uncertain, although I personally blame former Governor Mitch Daniels.  I never liked the man, anyway, so it’s easy for me to blame him.  (Ah! To be a retired State employee and be able at last to say anything I can about the State’s governors, past and present, without fearing for my job!)

In any case, the State legislature gleefully announced that all of Indiana would be on the same time at last. All 92 counties worth of us.  In reality, though, we are no more on the same time than we were before the advent of the Dreaded DST.  A dozen Indiana counties, perched on the northern and southern tips of the State, remain aligned to Central rather than Eastern time.  So, the simple truth is, nobody outside the State—heck, not even most of the residents inside the State!–well, simply put, to this day, no one knows what the heck time it is in Indiana.

The real problem as I see it, though, is that I have yet to meet a single person who likes Daylight Savings Time.  Whether they align themselves on the “spring forward and leave it alone, for God’s sake!” or the “fall back and never touch the damn clocks again!” side of the debate, they are all united in one simple belief: DST sucks eggs big time.  It wrecks people’s internal body clocks.  Parents of small children lose their minds for fully two weeks after the twice-yearly time change, trying to help their children adapt to the lost-or-gained hour.  (It’s not, after all, like this is something one can explain to a newborn infant!)  And hungry pets demand to know why their palatial offerings of kibble and canned food are not being presented when the REAL timekeepers—those little clocks in their tummies, like a mantelpiece novelty—are informing them that it is, too, time for breakfast!

Sadly, since Indiana, (ever regressive and rural, despite its contemporary pretensions), remains one of the few States in the Union which denies its citizens the right of voter referendum, so that residents can place issues on the ballot, I don’t expect the unhappy Daylight Savings Time dispute to be resolved anytime soon. But I’ll continue agreeing with the proverb:

You can’t cut the end off a blanket, sew it to the other end, and pretend you have a longer blanket.

3 thoughts on “Beware the DST, My Friends!

  1. I grew up changing times twice a year. Not a big deal for me! To help babies, pets, those cows that would be upset adjust, everyone where I grew up knew that you adjust their feeding time forward (or backward, depending on how the clock was moved) 15 minutes over 4 days.

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