Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Search of Lost Time

Can we really call it Standard Time if we're only on it for five months of the year?

Somewhere over the weekend the Daylight Savings Time fairies came by and stole my hour, and the fact that they will return it in the fall is really not all that helpful when you think about it.

For one thing, they get all the interest on that time. They probably put it into some kind of time bank where they earn extra minutes that they can put toward living longer or making the good times last. Meanwhile I just get my principal back. My undergraduate university used to do that with a $50 fee that they charged us when we got there – they’d give it back to us when we graduated (although they strenuously argued that we, as newly minted alums, should donate it to them, an argument that my friends and I greeted with howls of laughter), but they got to keep the interest for four years. And that was just a few bucks – a cheeseburger and a soda, maybe. Here we’re talking about time I could be spending with my children.

Stupid DST fairies.

For another thing, this year is the first time in my memory that I really can feel that lost hour. For most of my life I kept student’s hours – up late, up early, sleeping in, doing whatever needed to be done whenever I had the time to do it. It was an erratic schedule, and an hour one way or another really didn’t matter all that much.

But recently I find that my world is settling down more. My “staying up until 2am for the fun of it” days are dwindling in the rearview mirror of my life, and my “getting up on a regular schedule” days have long since taken up residence in my routines, painted the walls, re-arranged the furniture and settled in for the long haul.

That hour suddenly matters more.

Oddly enough, I’ve noticed the difference in my students, too. Don’t today’s students keep student’s hours? Not from what I can see. This week’s classes have been moribund, and I don’t think it’s just because they’re not that interested in Klemens von Metternich or Charles Darwin. Metternich is a fascinating guy once you get past the fact that he was a bit of a jerk, and around here you can almost always be assured of strongly held reactions whenever Darwin’s name comes up.

Almost. Not this time.

And don’t even get me started on my children. The people who run Daylight Savings Time don’t have children who need to get to bed on a schedule and get up for school the next day, no they do not. Seriously – it’s been like Easter morning, every day this week, as the dead are resurrected, fed breakfast and sent off to Not Bad President Elementary.

I think we should just go back onto Standard Time and be done with it. If I wanted to live my life an hour later, I’d move back to Philadelphia.

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