Spring ahead, fall behind. Daylight Saving Time is about to disorient me and the cats again. Don’t forget to reset your clock. If you attend Sunday services of any kind you could wind up sneaking in late. The cats, not using clocks, will wake me for breakfast at the same time as the day before, and I will be feeling behind the power curve all day. I won’t really loose an hour, but I’ll feel like it.
On the bright side, quite literally, I will have longer hours of daylight and hopefully will be able to accomplish the long list of to dos I’ve set myself. After all, it will only take a few days for the cats and I to adjust. I really tired of waking in the dark and doing my best zombie imitation as I feed the cats, who of course are crepuscular and become active in the early hours regardless of sunrise.
Many people think there is no real need for this semi-annual adjustment to the clocks. I myself would prefer the DST clock go all year. In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. In the EU, clocks change at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It was late enough to minimize the affect on bars and restaurants, too. An earlier time might have switched the day to yesterday in the fall, which would be confusing. Still, it’s early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and churchgoers are affected.
This thoughtfulness was more than offset during the 1950s and 1960s by widespread confusion created when each U.S. locality could start and end Daylight Saving Time when it wanted. One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore–but Chicago was.On one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today’s equivalent of over $12 million per year.
Speaking of railroads, to keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So, in October when the clocks fall back one hour, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming. Overnight passengers riding on this evening are often wakened by the halt and surprised to find their train at a dead stop. At the spring Daylight Saving Time change, trains instantaneously become an hour behind schedule at 2:00 a.m., but they must keep going and do their best to make up the time.
Still I have to say, no matter how it inconveniences me temporarily, the change actually cheers me up overall. It marks the first concrete sign spring is really on it’s way and I am in need of that after a long, cold, dark winter. I just make it a point to follow the cats’ lead. I may loose an hour but I’ll try not to loose any sleep.