News flash! Daylight Saving Time (DST) screeches to a halt this week. Or does it begin? Nope, it ends—just looked at a calendar, you know—one of those things made of paper that sits on a …
News flash! Daylight Saving Time (DST) screeches to a halt this week. Or does it begin? Nope, it ends—just looked at a calendar, you know—one of those things made of paper that sits on a desk, or adorns a wall in the kitchen.
Why is it so confusing after all this time? For some reason, I still have to check every year, but sure enough, Daylight Saving Time (no “s” according to the calendar) ends on Sunday, November 7, at 2 a.m. when our clocks will “fall back” one hour, giving us “more daylight in the dark autumn and winter mornings,” according to www.almanac.com.
If you think Daylight Saving (I said no “s”!) Time is a good idea, you can thank New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson and British builder William Willett. An oddly specific website, www.timeanddate.com, informs us that in 1895, Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a “2-hour shift forward in October and a 2-hour shift back in March.” Two hours? Oy.
In 1905, independently from Hudson, Willett suggested setting the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on each of the four Sundays in September, a total of eight time-switches per year. Sounds like a lot of work.
I don’t know why, but I’m always confounded by the concept, although the whole “spring forward/fall back” rule makes it easier, so at least I know which direction to turn the hands on the clock, even if I don’t want to.
That said, there’s an entire generation of young folks that doesn’t own clocks, doesn’t wear watches, and relies entirely on technology to not only automatically change the time for them, but to actually inform them of the time, which of course is the whole idea. I’m pretty sure kids no longer learn how to tell time in school the old-fashioned way, and I worry for them, since the tech they rely so heavily on is (IMHO) fraught with problems.
In fact, solar flares were in the news last week and I remembered hearing something about how they can interfere with electronics, so I asked the Google. “This phenomenon can end up destroying electronics because it creates a new current in otherwise passive lines. It can also interrupt and in some cases bring down power grids in some areas of the world. A solar storm also can put radio communications systems and satellites at risk.”
Hmmm. What happens when you can’t use your phone and have no clue how to tell time?
“Makes no nevermind to us, girl, am I right?” I wheezed at the dog. “Cuz we got clocks, lots and lots of clocks. And they don’t re-set themselves” I rasped, “so we better get a jump on it.”
I’ve always been fascinated with clocks and have filled my home with them, but thankfully, none trill “cuckoo” or chime on the hour, cuz that would make me crazy. I mean crazier. In my living room alone there are four, not including the new-fangled one on the tech-savvy flat screen, and a quick assessment revealed more than a dozen clocks scattered throughout the house.
As I began the laborious process of re-setting them all, I realized that each one has a story to tell. Of course. In addition, I own more than 20 watches and have no clue why, since I’ve worn the same old Timex INDIGLO (look it up!) every day for more than 30 years.
I know you’re all plotzing (as Barbara Fox would say) to get a peek at my collection, so enjoy. And remember to change your clocks; otherwise you might be late for church.
Fun Fact: Although modern DST has only been in place for about 100 years, ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in comparable practices thousands of years ago. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year to adjust the daily schedules to the solar time.
And this: “Get Me to the Church on Time” is a song written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner from the 1956 Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”
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