Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A brief history of time ... changes

It’s that time of year again.
Did you remember to set your clocks for Daylight Saving Time before you went to bed last night?
I suspect many of us put it off because it’s Saturday night, and we figure we’ll have the whole weekend to adjust to what is, after all, just an hour’s difference.
But what a difference an hour can make.
I’ve been through a lot of time changes by now, but I still find myself getting a little bleary about which season is which and am still prone to second guessing after all these decades.
Is it really spring forward in March and fall back in October, or is that just too easy?
Maybe we’re supposed to be counter-intuitive and spring back in the fall, when it seems logical that we need more light, and fall back in the spring, when mother nature is brightening things up anyway. Isn’t more light just gilding the lily?
But no, we’re supposed to move the clock ahead one hour in the fall and back an hour in the spring. Right? Right!
In recent years, I’ve come to rely on most of most electronic gear to be self-springers and fallers. I already ran afoul of that confident attitude when I set out to write this column and found our new news processing system was reluctant to let me express myself. No matter how I muttered and refreshed, I was consistently informed that March 9 is “not a publication date.”  No amount of attempted retries and arguments with my PC about the fact that we are a daily newspaper garnered any helpful results. In fact, the system calendar listed March 7. March 8 twice and March 10.
March 9 and I were caught in a time-space warp. After many call to IT, I decided the best course was to go to lunch. When I returned, so had March 9.
I gave at the office and now on to our homes. Cable and TV and DVR seem to take care of the time switch on their own. I’ll have to wait and see if my new iPhone and its family of aps can mange to transcend space and time changes without human help. That leaves the clocks in the car and microwave, my alarm clock and a slew of analog watches, some of which I rarely wear and never bothered to fall back with, so they’re set to go and ready to spring in to action if I’m not in the mood to risk nail breaks resetting my favorites for awhile.
Now for the humans. For confirmed creatures of habit, or their caretakers, time changes can be a transitional ordeal. Wrangling bedtimes when you aren’t sleepy yet, or waking up when you’re still exhausted. Negotiating mealtimes when you’re not hungry ... or feel like you’re starving.
For those on special diets or with chronic medical conditions, there are issues that can be irritating. Should you take your prescribed medications, or even your vitamins and supplements, at the same “real” time all year around? I split the difference by 30 minutes for a week or so and then forget about it. No problem.
In fact, having no recalcitrant children or grandchildren to get to school these days, I actually like this end of the time change.
After half a lifetime as an owl, I’ve been surprised to find I’ve transformed into a lark, a creature of the morning. If you wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. anyway, getting ready for work when the clock says 5 or 6 seems like sleeping in. And for the first week or so, getting home at 5 or 6  when we know it’s “really” 4 or 5 seems a little like playing hooky.
Maybe it’s that little end-of-the day bonus that makes many of us feel better this time of year. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I remember studies that showed a small amount of sleep deprivation for a short period of time could help alleviate mild depression. Or maybe it was the hope for an extra sliver of light after the long, gray, drizzly winter in the land of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Whatever the clock says, it’s spring, my favorite season.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @Derrickson Moore on Twitter and Tout, or 575-541-5450.

1 comment:

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