When reminders about the end of daylight savings time began to crop up last month, the usual congenial grumping began. Some people wished it never would end. Others expressed hope the practice would be abolished. Arguments broke out at dinner tables and over fences: is the practice left over from a more agricultural society? Does it really save energy? Should it be standardized across the country? Does it help or hurt school children?
At least for now, Daylight Savings time is gone, but the transition back to Standard time always amuses me. I have one friend who takes the reminder to set clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. so literally she sets an alarm to wake her at 1:45. She doesn’t want to be late in meeting her civic obligation. She’s done it for years, and for years I’ve given her a bit of a hard time about it. She says she does it because that’s the way it’s “supposed” to be done, and if everyone would get up in the middle of the night and set their clocks as they’re told, we wouldn’t have so many people being late for Church or missing television programs on Sunday.
I’ve never dared tell her about my approach to the end of daylight savings time. If she knew, she’d be scandalized, and probably would be knocking at my door at 2:05 to get me moving. She’d have to, because the fact is I’ve never risen in the middle of the night to change clock settings. I don’t even reset them before I go to bed, as my mother does, or adjust everything, one by one, as I move toward the first early sunset the day after the change.
The way I see it, that hour we “gain” as we “fall back” is pure gift. It’s a little chunk of time, just lying there at the edge of my life, and it’s mine to do with as I please. Every year, I save my hour of re-claimed time until I need it, or decide what to do with it. While everyone else is running around resetting clocks, I’m sitting back with my feet up and a smile on my face, secure in the knowledge of that hour safely tucked into my pocket. When I decide I need that extra hour, I reset the clocks, and am back in synch with everyone else.