Sloan Column: Daylight saving time? It’s all relative, baby!
This coming Saturday night – well, technically Sunday morning - our eyes and minds will be focused on big hands and little hands. To the great disdain of some and to the unbridled joy of others, the majority of the world will collectively spring forward.
I’m sure I’m in the minority when I say that daylight saving time can’t begin soon enough. To me it means added hours of sunshine at the end of the day. It signals that spring has sprung or it soon shall and that baseball season is just around the corner. What’s not to like?
I know a lot of folks out there have a quick response at the ready to explain why they think daylight saving time is useless. I’m happy for you, but you’re wrong. In my world, daylight saving time is a beautiful thing.
Last fall our state legislature actually passed a law making daylight saving time a yearlong reality in the Palmetto State. The problem is they made the transition contingent on the federal government authorizing states to observe daylight saving time year-round by amending a federal statute. When might that happen? Well, only time will tell.
And since we’re on the subject of time, here are a few of my favorite quotes about the concept of time:
• “Time is Money” – Ben Franklin. Good Ol’ Ben was one of the first to propose the daylight saving time concept.
• “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
- Will Rogers.
•“Time doesn’t exist. Clocks exist. Time is just an agreed upon construct. We have taken distance (one rotation of the earth, one orbit of the sun), divided it up into segments, then give those segments labels. While it has uses, we have been programmed to live our lives by this construct as if it were real. We have confused our shared construct with something that is tangible and thus have become a slave to it.” – Anonymous.
• “When I get to heaven, I'm gonna take that wristwatch off my arm. What are you gonna do with time after you've bought the farm?”
_ John Prine, “When I Get to Heaven”
And finally, a few words of wisdom from Albert Einstein, widely consider the most intelligent man to ever live.
• “Time is an illusion.”
• “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
• “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”
• “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.”
• “It’s all relative, baby!”
Okay, so I made that last one up. It’s still true, though. Time, be it standard or daylight saving, is very much relative. We may think we are altering time by changing our clocks, but we are not. We may look in an almanac and read that the sun will rise at 6:34 a.m. on Saturday and 7:34 a.m. on Sunday and somehow convince ourselves that the world as we know it has shifted dramatically. It has not. Time cannot change. What can and does change is how we perceive time. Is that deep enough for you?
Time flies, but it can also stand still. It can rush by for Sam, while move at a snail’s pace for Sally. For one person it can be of the essence while another can bide theirs. You can be pressed for it, keep it, manage it, serve it, face it, mark it, stall for it, race against it, or put a stitch in it. It can be borrowed or you can buy it. It can be good, bad, hard, high, down, tough, rough, easy, bad, real, over, poor, prime and quality. Time is what we make of it.
All this talk about whether we should or should not observe daylight saving time has become too much of a time-consuming issue. It’s one hour, folks - one lousy hour. It’s 60 minutes. It’s 3,600 seconds. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. You will probably spend less time than that today watching your favorite movie on Netflix, Prime or Hulu. That’s time you won’t get back. Heck, the other day I watched “Borat: Subsequent Movie Film.” Boy, would I like to get that hour and 36 minutes back.
That hour of sleep you think your losing? You’re really not. You’ll get it back in November. Think of it as an investment. One hour of inconvenience for eight months of perceived additional daylight at the end of each day.
Do you have issues with acclimating to the ‘time change?” Try moving from the East Coast to the West. It’s like entering a time warp. Travel to Europe or some other distant place and think of the considerable amount of time it will take to put jet lag behind you and acclimate to your “new time.” We seem to have no problem with that because the temporary inconvenience is outweighed by the reward of experiencing life in another culture.
I don’t wear a watch. Never have. Aside from the fact that they just feel funny strapped around my wrist, I simply see no need for them. Everywhere you go there is a means to check the time - your phone, the clock on the wall, the one on the microwave, in your car, you desktop computer, the digital sign at the bank. Everywhere you look there is a way to see if you are ahead of time, right on time, or out of time.
I, for one, won’t have a problem with turning my clock forward this weekend. Just don’t ask me to do it at 2 in the cotton-pickin’ morning. What numbskull came up with that brilliant idea?
Thank for spending a little time with me and I’m sorry if I wasted yours.