Monday, April 02, 2007


Well, the last weekend in March is behind us, and I'm sure you all enjoyed the spring ritual of setting your clocks back an hour. Some of you might have looked at that sentence and asked two questions.

1) Don't you set your clocks ahead an hour for daylight saving time?

2) Didn't daylight saving time start three weeks ago?

You're right on both counts but, at the same time, you're wrong. As you might imagine, the confusion is the result of a Technological Marvel of the Modern Age (TM).

When I was living in Texarkana I had a few problems. The first was that I lived in Texarkana. The second was an unreliable power supply. For whatever reason, the power went out in Texarkana with alarming frequency. Perhaps it was a move on the power company's part to show solidarity with their brothers in Baghdad. Perhaps the utility company didn't think we really needed electricity all the time. But whatever the case, it was not unusual to come home from work and find all the clocks blinking.

After a while, I got annoyed and bought a self-setting clock. Now before you get too impressed, this was not one of those fancy clocks that receives radio transmissions from the atomic clock in the US Naval Observatory. Those are expensive, and they certainly aren't for sale at a Target in Texarkana. Nope, I got a $15 clock radio from a company I've never heard of called Emerson Research.

The "Smart Set" clock has some inexpensive computer chip inside that runs a simple time program. It also has a calendar function. All you do is plug it in, and within seconds it knows the date and time. You do have to do is set the time zone, but that's the only alteration you should ever have to make. Ever. Not even for daylight saving time.

Then congress had to go mess everything up.

Despite my clock's designation as "smart," it didn't know that congress changed the starting date for daylight saving time this year. In fairness, it also didn't know about the massive oil company subsidies stuffed inside the energy bill that changed daylight saving time. So I guess I can't blame it.

So what that meant was, three weeks ago, when daylight saving time took effect, my clocks (yes, I would up going back to the store and buying more) did NOT change. The only way I could get them to display the proper time was to LIE to my clocks and tell them I was living in the Mountain time zone. Can you understand the humiliation of having my clocks thinking that I live in the lamest time zone in the US? It's not anything I would wish on my worst enemy.

So three weeks after I set all my clocks ahead, another thing happened. My "smart" clocks decided daylight saving time had come to the Mountain Time Zone and jumped forward. I actually saw it happen. I was trying to get a teething baby back to sleep when I glanced at the clock. It was 1:59 AM. Moments later, I looked up and it was 3:00.

(That's not some sort of literary device I'm employing there. It's not like I'm trying to describe how quickly time can pass when you're sitting with a screaming baby. It's all literal. It was just moment later, and the clock really did say 3... even though it wasn't. Everything clear? Good, then let's move on.)

As I saw the clock change, I realized that I was one of a few, proud Americans who won't just change their clocks twice a year. Instead, I get to change mine FOUR times a year.

I was complaining about this at work the other day (I complain about a lot of things at work) and someone mentioned that these clocks are cheap and easily replaceable. Why don't I just go to Target and plunk down another $15 for an updated clock? Nice try. Congress has changed daylight saving time on a trial basis. That's right, they could decide to change it back in a year or two if they wish. And by then I probably would have donated the old clocks to poor people who don't care about daylight saving time. What am I supposed to do then, huh?

I apologize for that outburst, it was uncalled for. I also apologize to poor people who are passionate about daylight saving time. It seems I should end this post before I cause any more trouble. But any suggestions on how to resolve this would be most welcome.

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At 9:18 am, Blogger imitate said...

Hey, some of my best friends live in the Mountain Time Zone! In fact, *I* live in the Mountain Time Zone. It's my favorite of all the zones. The worst?? Central. Talk about your undesirable time zone... Of course, they do advertise a lot of TV under the Central Time Zone, so....

What was my point again??

Oh, back to your problem. A few weeks ago when I was staying in beach condo in the Eastern Time Zone, I had a similar problem with one of those auto time clocks. Mine had a DST button on it that let me change the time. Perhaps you could look for one of those....

At 7:53 am, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I find myself ranting about Daylight Slavings on my blog everytime it happens — springing forward, or falling back.

I'm from a state that just doesn't "get" it. It's been a rough adjustment for me.

As for this newest meddling by Congress: my work e-mail had the wrong timestamp on it for weeks. There wasn't a fix for our system. It messed everyone up, as meetings are scheduled/timed through e-mail, too.


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