So we’re five days into “Daylight Savings” Time, and I’m still tired. Still fighting the urge to go back to bed as soon as I get home from taking the kids to school.
Five days! My sister says it’s psychological, but I don’t buy that. The fact is, I’m being forced to wake up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 in the morning. You can change the clocks, but you can’t change my circadian clock. That alarm clock might say 7:30, but my body knows better.
I am one of those unfortunate folks who is not only a night owl, but I also seem to need more sleep than many adults. I need eight hours MINIMUM. Ten would be better. If I get below seven, bad things happen. I am not a nice person, not a nice friend, mother or wife. It’s ugly. All that said, I’ve always seemed to have a tougher time than most with time changes, jet lag, and the like.
Needless to say, I hate “Daylight Savings” Time.
You may notice I keep putting the words in quotation marks. Yeah, that’s because the name is stupid. Like you can save daylight. Sure. Stick it in a bottle. Or I can think of some other places you can stick it.
Indiana rejected DST for a long time. We had it for a few years when I was a kid. I don’t remember it well except that my dad said it was the reason our favorite drive-in movie theater closed. Then our Hoosier lawmakers got rid of it. We flipped back and forth between Eastern time and Central time. The only time I ever really paid any attention to the Indiana time anomaly was when I worked for an insurance company that had agents on both coasts. In the summer, the California agents would complain bitterly that we closed too early. In the winter, the Maryland agents would complain bitterly that we didn’t open early enough. Or maybe it was vice versa. I don’t remember; I just remember we couldn’t make anyone else happy. But Hoosiers were fine with being unusual, and it made our lives easier.
Transplants hated our standard time, though. My New Englander husband would grouse about Monday Night Football suddenly being on at a different time when the rest of the country “fell back.” I also worked with a guy from Kansas who was an avid golfer. He complained that he didn’t have time to get in a full 18 holes after work during Indiana summers.
So a few years back, our governor, in his infinite wisdom, not only proposed DST for Indiana, but also decided we should be on EASTERN DST. Eastern! We’re on the same time as Boston (800 miles from Indianapolis) instead of Chicago (180 miles). Last night the sunset around 8:00. We’re not even to the spring equinox! By the time summer solstice rolls around, the sun will set around 11pm. Seriously!
So earlier this week, I was complaining about DST on my Facebook page, and I noticed some trends in the comments. Pro-DST folks tend to fall into three categories: Golf People, No-Kid People and Morning People.
The Time Tyranny Trifecta.
Golf people. What can I say? I don’t play golf. I love sports, but golf isn’t one of them. I don’t think it should even qualify as a sport. Any game where you can be obese and drunk and still do really well should not be considered a sport. Plus, the whole golf culture rankles me a bit. Pay a couple hundred dollars to walk around a field full of holes, sand pits and water hazards? Wear loud, mismatched clothes on purpose? Drink beer while pretending to be engaging in a sport? The whole thing smack of exclusivism and contradiction to me. It certainly doesn’t seem like a compelling reason to make everyone in the state change their clocks twice a year.
Then, there are the no-kid people. If you have no kids, maybe the time change is nice for you. I can see that. An extra hour after work to play in the yard or hang out on a patio drinking wine. It sounds lovely, although you can do still do some of that stuff after the sun goes down when it’s cooler outside.
For those of us with children, though, that extra hour of sunlight is another hour of dealing with kids. Not just our kids, but ALL the kids. For me, that’s a particularly big deal. We live in a large neighborhood with hundreds of kids, many of whom end up at my house. When the bus arrives at the corner, the countdown begins: “I have to deal with this insanity for 4 hours.” Oops. Now it’s 5 hours because we changed the danged clocks.
Some of my parent friends put their kids to bed at 8 or 9, so they’re complaining about DST too because the sun’s still up. Their kids are fighting them about going to bed when it’s still light out.
Yes, indeed, DST is not a parent’s friend. I don’t generally have that problem because my kids are night owls like I am. Thank Heaven! We go to bed at 10. I arranged my life (and theirs) to maximize our sleep schedule in this morning-person-dictated world. I take them to school so we can sleep an extra 45 minutes. I left my full-time job, in part, because the very idea of getting myself and my kids up every morning at 6am so I could haul them to daycare before rushing to my 8-5 job sounded like a complete nightmare. The flexibility of my college teaching schedule is one of the many things that appealed to me when I started at the university.
I have learned to manage in a morning-person’s world, but morning people still drive me nuts. My grandmother was a morning person. My mom tells stories of getting up to go to the bathroom at 4 or 5 in the morning, and her mother would’ve made her bed when got back to her room. Inexplicably, I married a morning person. It’s one of the biggest strains on our marriage. He’s so sweet and happy in the mornings, and I do not want to speak to anyone. And at night, when I’m bouncing around, full of energy, he wants me dead. It’s hard.
But morning people rule the world, which is, I believe, a terrible injustice. These crazy people think it’s perfectly acceptable to call me or knock on my door at 9am. And because the larks rule the roost, they feel justified. I’d like to see their reaction if I called or rang their doorbell at 11:30 at night. Hey, lazy people! Wake up! I’m still awake! What’s wrong with you losers?
Not only is it unfair for the morning folks to have the power, it’s unwise. Studies have shown that night owls are more productive AND more creative! I think it’s time for all the night owls to rise up (preferably around noon) and take control.
—Make schools start later. MUCH later! I never learned anything in a first-period class that started at 7:30 or 8 in the morning. I slept through most of them. If schools started later, the poor kids would get much more out of their classes. Teachers would be fresher too. States want to cut education budgets? Fine. Cut the school day by an hour in the morning. Let everyone get an extra hour of sleep.
—Ban morning meetings. Everyone hates them anyway.
—Move the standard “opening” time of most businesses to 10 or 11. Who really needs to go to the bank at 9am anyway?
—And while we’re at it, get rid of DST. It’s a nuisance. It’s a hardship for most parents. And contrary to popular belief, it does NOT save money any better than it “saves” time.
Morning people can use their extra morning time any way they want. If they still want to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, let them. But if they wake me up, they’d better be prepared to get slapped.