Happy the first Monday of Daylight Saving Time. This is the day it really hurts. Because for many of us, weekend time is different. A few minutes extra sleep, a couple minutes one way or the other, are not a problem, not an issue.
But today we return to real life. To obligations. To appointments. To Being On Time. And our bodies have not adjusted.
So, being the kind of Mom I am, I’ve decided to bring you some little known factoids about DST.
If you’re involved in international business (or international friendship), beware. Different countries begin (and end) Daylight Saving Time on different days. Meaning what was a 2pm call last week is not a 2pm call this week. Consult The Google for local (here or there) time.
DST used to be even more confusing than it is now. (Now: Oh, look. My phone changed time. Guess it’s time to get up. Then: Oh, look. The headline in the newspaper says we are supposed to change our clocks. Is that now or tonight? Or last night? Or tomorrow? And which way do we change it? Spring forward and fall back? Or fall forward and I’ll catch you? Or always back? Never mind. I’ll watch the 6 o’clock news tonight and figure it out.)
Back in Ancient History (and by “ancient history” in this case I mean the 1950s and 1960s), each locality was allowed to start and end DST whenever it wanted. Which meant you could easily cross 453 time zones just driving to work. This was pretty much the textbook definition of “Arrrrgggh!” Also, it confused people. Enter the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (no, this had nothing to do with what people wore to work, just when they got there.
When we first moved to the Midwest, time in the state of Indiana was, um, different. Some parts of the year it was the same time in Indianapolis as in Cincinnati. Other times it wasn’t. This is because Indiana didn’t observe DST. Which made it hard to figure out what time to get to the airport if you decided to fly from there. They fixed this in 2006 so Hoosier time is now much more consistent with the rest of the universe.
Penguins do not worry about things like Daylight Savings Time because they don’t have any daylight to save when it’s winter and no reason to save it in the summer when they have daylight 24/7. Mostly they worry about lunch, not being lunch, and staying warm. The research stations in Antarctica observe DST anyway so that they are synchronized with their supply stations.
This might be my favorite: In September 1999, the West Bank was on DST and Israel had just switched back to standard time. A group of terrorists on the West Bank set time bombs and smuggled them to three comrades in Israel. No one said the comrades were geniuses. The bombs went off as planned, but the comrades didn’t understand the “as planned” time, and boom! went the terrorists as the bombs exploded an hour earlier than they expected.
In a set of “what are you gonna do?” unintended consequences, Daylight Saving Time impacts trains. Trains are not allowed to leave the station before their scheduled departure time. So in the fall, all Amtrak trains that are running on time stop dead still at 2am and wait an hour (this is called efficiency). In the spring, all trains instantly become an hour behind at 2am (or sometimes an hour further behind). In this case, the engineer shrugs and keeps going. This is also called efficiency.
Daylight Saving Time can mess up important things, too. For example (this has really happened), if twins are born under the right circumstances, their birth order will be reversed. If Twin 1 is born in the fall at 1:58am and the sibling is born a few minutes later (oops, change the clock, fall back) it is earlier (perhaps 1:10am) when Twin 2 is born. Absolutely no one cares about this except A) the twins who will have their entire lives to argue about which one is older and B) inheritance lawyers in the middle ages when so much of inheritance was based on birth order.
Hope you have an easy time adjusting to the hour.