Monday, March 9, 2009

How much daylight are you saving?

As I write this, the first day of Daylight Saving Time, 2009 edition, is coming to a close. It’s something of a misnomer, of course. The relationship between the sun and the earth doesn’t change regardless of what we do with the hands of the clock. The number of hours and minutes of daylight will be the same. No saving there.

If nothing else, it saves a little wear and tear on my nerves. My old eyes aren’t too happy about driving in the dark, so DST allows me to pick up our grandson from Taekwondo while the sun still shines. We can also head out to a restaurant before dark. But the flip side is we’ll be getting up before the sun for a while.

There was something on the news about studies done to determine if Daylight Saving Time accomplishes the goal Congress had in mind, saving on energy consumption. As usual, there are differing opinions.

What impact does it have on writers? Depends on when you do your best work. If you’re an up-early type who wages war at the keyboard before the day gets going good, you’ll be spending more time in the dark. I spend enough time in that state already. I do more work late than early, though where the sun is makes little difference.

Ben Franklin first came up with the idea of daylight saving in an essay written while he was in Paris in 1784. But it wasn’t written into law until 1918. Then it didn’t last but a year before DST began it’s on-again off-again path right up to the present. Some complain of sleep disturbances, loss of productivity, and more severe accidents as a result of the practice.

One writer has blamed the idea on Puritanism. He calls it an effort to get people earlier to bed and earlier to rise, “making them healthy, and wealthy, and wiser in spite of themselves.”

Whatever side you’re on, DST will probably stay around for a bit. Congress is too preoccupied with the economy and bailouts and foreclosures and taxes and wealth redistribution to fool around with the clock this year. So just be sure all your timepieces are in synch with the rest of the country. Don’t want to be late for a book signing.

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L. Diane Wolfe said...

The one redeeming factor of DST is getting that extra hour to sleep in the fall! Of course, we wouldn't have lost that hour if we hadn't sprung forward in the first place...

L. Diane Wolfe

Chester Campbell said...

Actually, I kind of like that extra hour in the evening, Diane. I can walk outside then in relative comfort. During cold weather, we walk in the mall. I do a lot of plot work while walking.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I wish they would just pick one or the other and stick with it. I suffer from 'jet-lag' for a week or two whenever the time changes!

Jane Kennedy Sutton