Every year, a fresh batch of think-pieces argue to put Daylight Savings Time (DST) out of its misery. Some also propose simple, feasible ways to cease the clock-fiddling nonsense and unify time zones. I concede that there’s a compelling case for retiring the bi-annual tradition of moving around an hour of daylight. But — but — I don’t care. This Saturday at 2 a.m., we will sacrifice an hour for DST. Plenty of people will groan. I say, take it. Take my 60 minutes and let me resume basking in the sun after work.
I'm familiar with the arguments against DST, such as:
- Changing the clocks doesn't appear to conserve all that much energy. And energy conservation (not conciliating the farm lobby) was the stated purpose of DST when the US first adopted the practice in 1918 and then re-introduced it during the 1970s oil crisis.
- Springing Forward, and the 40-minute sleep loss we average that Sunday night, has been associated with a spate of unsettling phenomena: Rates of suicide, car accidents and heart attacks increase during the week after DST. And judges appear to hand out disproportionately harsh criminal sentences on the Monday after DST, aka "Sleepy Monday." We can blame these mishaps, researchers believe, on the fact that DST throws off our body clocks so much that, as a 2008 study found, we never adjust to the time change. Instead, moving an hour of light from the morning to the night exacerbates misalignment between our internal time and "social time." And night owls struggle with DST the most.
- Time zones are both unnecessary (China doesn’t subscribe) and kind of a pain in the ass in terms of traveling and scheduling cross-country phone calls.
But, when it comes to the DST debate, my resistance to reason is Drumpf-ian. No number of well-crafted points will loosen my attachment to the time shuffle, because DST manipulates daylight in a manner that jibes with my pre-existing seasonal mood fluctuations.
I already get the sads, and perhaps full-on SAD, when autumn days get colder and shorter. Let’s say I’m walking to the subway on a cruel December afternoon. My hood is up. My head is down. The only traces of snow are garbage-infused ice mounds lining the sidewalks. In this state, that hour of daylight is negligible. I’m going dark anyway. Let me sink into the penetralia of my sunless, Seamless existence.
And then — the stretch of empty wine bottles and takeout trays known as February releases us from its jaw. The temperature shows us mercy. I start to see the light — quite literally — during formerly dim afternoon coffee runs. And I burden people with texts like this:
Just as things are looking up, we spring forward into an extra hour of light, a complimentary mint on the pillow of my escalating mood. Rather than leave work only to retreat back indoors, I get to hang out in the elements. Rather than climb on a treadmill, I get to jog alongside the city's waterways, smiling like a weirdo.
I'm certain of at least two groups that will stand with me: after-work golfers and the people who benefit from their patronage. Okay, that’s more like one group. But, weirdly enough, the economic cost of losing evening golf is an oft-cited reason to hold onto DST. In Oklahoma, for example, a bill exempting the state from federally mandated DST gained favor among legislators last year. But, Rep. Sally Kern, of Oklahoma City, wasn't a fan.
“Thousands of people play golf after work,” Kern said to KFOR.com, a local NBC affiliate. “I think this would have a huge economic impact on golf courses and other businesses, and would impact a lot of people."
Right on, Kern. Bask with me, won't you?