When It Comes ‘Spring Ahead,’ I Do Not Agree


Sunday night is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, something I will never understand and, as an American, therefore hate.

“Spring Forward, Fall Back” is the amusing little ditty we humans (who are absolutely stuffed with gray matter from the neck up) have devised in order to help us remember what the heck to do. We are told that, in the spring, we move the little hand of the clock forward. In the fall, we move it back.

There are two problems with this: a) Do you still own a clock with a “little hand?” I don’t. Maybe you own a watch with a “big hand,” but, if you do, the hand is probably your own; and, b) What about people who move from summer into autumn, which is basically all of the English-speaking world except the United States? Do they “Autumn Back?”

Either way, this Sunday evening signals the beginning of “Daylight” Savings Time, even though it will be pitch black outside at the time. The sun itself does not cooperate with this nonsense, but we highly intelligent humans will “save daylight” by changing our clocks to read 3 a.m. when we know darn well it is only 2 a.m. Our bodies themselves will tell us it is 2 a.m. by insisting they’re sleepy and, when our alarm sounds again at 8 a.m., they will angrily remind us that it is really only 7 a.m. and to go back to sleep, for heaven’s sake! It will still be dark outside — a major clue that something is fundamentally wrong.

If the daylight we are “saving” is the daylight between 8 and 9 a.m., I prefer to enjoy it by keeping my curtains pulled tightly shut and my head nestled comfortably in a pillow. Got a rooster? Remember to spring it forward. Or, if you live in my neighborhood, just spring it. Let the creature go. Please. I’m trying to sleep here.

“Gaining” an hour of daylight at night makes no sense either. When our antiquated clock-with-hands reads 6 p.m. but it’s really only 5 p.m., what am I supposed to do? Eat supper? I just had lunch. I don’t want to eat supper at 5 p.m. I’m not that old yet. And springing forward means it’s not going to be completely dark until the clock reads, what, 9 p.m.? 10 p.m.? My husband is already in bed two hours before my first yawn; this is just going to make things worse. (“Let’s go for a walk!” “I’m walking straight to bed.” “But it’s still light outside! I wanna play!”)

In the U.S., Daylight Savings Time was first instituted in 1918. It was repealed seven months later when all the train and bus schedules were messed up and cows were still refusing to cooperate with their farmers (“Milk me now, McDonald!”). But city folks liked it, so it was reinstated in 1942 despite the fact that schoolchildren now had to stumble to school in the dark. As recently as 2007, they were still tinkering with Daylight Savings Time, trying to get it right despite that pesky sun.

But I try not to complain without offering a plan. And I have a plan. This fall, we autumn-matically go back to real time — and stay there. Who’s with me?