Daylight Saving Time
Only the fundamentally inept have trouble adjusting to and managing daylight savings time. I am afraid that I fall in that category.
First, I really do not see the need for it. Time, like gravity and the internet, is a Newtonian main spring of the universe. Humans cannot make any more of it. Cows and chickens don’t adhere to an artificial change in it. When daylight savings time comes in early March, the sun doesn’t come up until the morning is half gone and having an extra hour of daylight is a little silly when the high is 40 degrees and snow is in the forecast.
Then there is the mechanics of it, trying to reset all of those digital clocks. We have a total of five in our house and each one has a quirky process for change. My vision has failed considerably as I stumble toward my 70th birthday and all of the buttons on these devices look the same at 3 a.m (or 2 or 4 a.m) depending on whether it’s March or October. I tried to reset the clock on our ultra-modern cooking range last year. I aimed for the clock and hit the automatic cleaning cycle instead. I managed to lock the oven up for about 18 hours and we were forced to live on non-perishable canned goods well into mid-week.
We have a built-in microwave oven located atop the range and it has more control devices that the new airplanes they make in Charleston. There is a separate knob for changing the hour and the minutes. During one futile attempt, I triggered the control to defrost meat, while simultaneously heating up popcorn. By the time, I made the correct adjustments, two hours had passed, but we did have a delightful midnight snack of singed sirloin and popcorn hard enough to crack molars.
We have an aging, dust-filled digital alarm clock in the bedroom that is also maddening to adjust. The control for adjusting the Minutes works fine but the device for hourly change is a little ornery. I have adjusted this machine from hell for a number of years now and the only sure fire way is to turn the clock upside down, take one foot off the floor and swear profusely. It also helps me if I wear bedroom shoes and mis-matched pajamas. I just hope we don’t have a fire and I am forced to rush out into the night attired in that rather strange and disturbing garb.
The mind-numbing process of adjusting our multiple clocks is not complete until corrections are made to the devices in our two automobiles. Now we have had the same cars for a number of years and it would seem logical that any reasonably sane adult could remember the process from year to year. Not me. I have to ramble though the glove box of each car and pull out the dog-eared owner’s manual. One car is a compact manufactured on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. This vehicle crossed the International Date Line at some point and setting the time is relatively easy. It’s the day that is the problem. If anyone needs the accurate time and temperature in mid-town Tokyo, just give me a call.
The other vehicle is a later model (though far from new) SUV. It has more bells and whistles than the compact and adjusting the clock is infinitely more complicated in the SUV. Changing the clock requires that the radio be turned on and the adjustor has to sit in the passenger seat with the vehicle in reverse. Through some kink in the engineering, the electric seat automatically returns to its original position when the ignition is in the on position. Only my nerves of steel and cat-like reflexes kept me from eating a cigarette as the engaged seat hurtled me toward the windshield. I only smoke when I get nervous, usually on the two days a year when Daylight Savings Time occurs.
This car also features a complicated radio /sound system with speakers the size of a large skillet. I accidentally turned on the radio during one of these attempts and the volume was at maximum. Some clown on satellite radio screamed that I should be buying gold, while taking off the shelf medication that would improve the liquidity of my vital organs.
I don’t mean for this narrative to leave the impression that I am an insufferable, retired grouch with nothing to do but complain. I know this is only two days out of the year and the extra hour will be a blessing in July and August when the temperature spikes over a 100 and darkness provides the only relief here in the tropics. I just like consistency. The catch phrase “ Spring Forward and Fall Back” is even bothersome.
One more day of daylight savings time for me, and the hook will be “Spring Forward and I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
(Ernie Segars retired as the Laurens County Administrator and is a former associate editor of The Chronicle. He lives in Laurens.)