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» Monday, April 04, 2005Raging Against the Daylight
Daylight Saving Time has annoyed the heck out of me ever since I can remember.
Granted there was a time when the long summer nights were kinda fun; I was old enough to go through the gate that was next door in my godmother’s yard to go sit on the retaining wall at a friend’s house and hang out with Penny and her sisters and a couple other of the neighbor kids. But as long as my mom knew I was there and nowhere else (she’d walk over herself sometimes, to talk with Penny’s mom and grandmother) I could stay long after dark anyway, sitting under the streetlights. Overland Avenue was a fairly quiet street and you could see the cars coming either way very well. It was cooler in the dark as well; we were kids of open windows and roaring fans (if you even had one) in the summer, waiting for those cool evening breezes.
On the other hand as long as the wretched sun was out there I was expected to “go out and play because it’s good for you” when I really preferred being inside nice and cool in the cellar with my books. The sun has always given me headaches anyway, making everything dance up and down in front of my eyes until I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and had to crawl into a dark room somewhere.
As an adult, DST is just a pain in the ass.
The clocks take a while to push forward, but that’s a minor annoyance. For the past couple months I’ve been able to get up for work in the daylight and drive to work. Now it’s bloody dark againwho wants to get up when it’s nice and dark outside to go fight traffic; rolling over and getting more sleep is preferable.
DST was useful when it was first initiated, during World War I. Factories didn’t have halogen and fluorescent lighting to illuminate work areas. If you see old factory buildings you will notice their sides are covered with enormous paned windows. This augmented the inadequate incandescent lighting (and, going far enough back, gas and kerosene lamps) inside, ensuring there was enough light so mistakes were not made (the workers’ eyestrain would not have been called into account). That extra hour of daylight meant war workers could produce another hour and farmers could farm another hour. The same was true for World War II, where “War Time” became a catchphrase.
It’s not wartime anymore, folks, and the factories don’t need the help.
Besides, it’s Morning. It’s supposed to be light in the morning, not pitch dark; conversely at the other end of the day it’s Night and it’s supposed to be dark. The days are already getting longer; why do we have to go through these marathon daylight hours to go with it? Kids are still going to play under the streetlight (if they haven’t been already in doing homework or playing videogames), the joggers and we dogwalkers still go out (nothing keeps joggers down), and sports fields are all halogen-lighted and spreading their pollution everywhere. Granted, it’s true that should night fall earlier, the lights would have to be on an extra hour.
But I can’t believe having not to put the lights on saves any energy, even despite the studies I understand have taken place. When the lights aren’t going, the air conditioners are. More and more people get air conditioning every year, whether it’s purchasing a house with a central unit or buying a single unit to make sleeping and/or eathing more comfortable. These monsters gulp up tons of energy while most lighting systems are getting more and more efficient in terms of power usage, and while the sun is up and it’s still hot, no one will be turning those units down. Surely an extra hour of A/C costs more than an extra hour of lights?