The Changing of the Clocks

Photo by Jordan Benton on

I always thought that the story of The Princess and the Pea was rather silly but I have to admit that I share some of the quirks of the little gal who stars in that tale. It does not take much to make me uncomfortable when I sleep. I’ve always had a bit of insomnia that comes and goes depending on what’s happening in my world but a sure way of blocking my slumber is to play with the natural timing of things. In other words, when a decree forces me to spring forward or fall back it will be weeks before my body finally adjusts to the sudden change. I will spend many nights tossing and turning and staring at the clock. Then I’ll be tired all day long as I attempt to come to grips with the new reality. 

I am a standard time gal. Everything about it works best for me. The first tiny rays of morning come peeking through my window around five thirty each morning and by six thirty the sun has risen as I watch the children in my neighborhood boarding the buses that take them to school. I am filled with almost boundless energy all day long and the sun goes down just long enough, even when days grow longer, for my body and mind to believe that it is time to rest at about eleven at night. I sleep well and don’t really need alarms to arise. It is a glorious time of year for me and then without fail comes the brutality of daylight savings time.

Springing forward not only feels like robbery of an hour of one day each year but it forces me to be totally out of sync for most of the months of the year. I can’t convince my mind or my body to relax enough to sleep until three or four in the morning. No matter how much exercise I do during the day or how dark I make my bedroom the plague of insomnia overtakes me and when I do finally fall asleep I am restlessly visited by strange dreams. I am usually awakened by the sound of the school bus which in my mind should be coming when the sun shines but instead is creeping along in the dark to meet children who look as sleep deprived as I am. On some days I am so exhausted from my nights of tossing and turning that I sleep in far longer than I wish, making my day seem shorter than it should and usually resulting in a headache.

Certainly I cannot be alone in my total dislike for the insanity of changing our clocks twice each year. Aside from the ensuing tiredness with which I must deal for many weeks there is the matter of adjusting all of our timepieces. Not everything works like an Apple watch to happily save us the effort of having to turn dials and punch buttons just to be on track. It is quite annoying to having to repeat the process over and over again. In some cases it has even resulted in damaging a particular clock as I remove it from the wall or flip it over to turn the dials. It is maddeningly irritating because there seems to be no rhyme or reason for doing this just because somebody decided that we needed more sunlight part of the year but might do without it during another time. 

Some states like Arizona rebelled long ago and decided not to participate in the biannual folly. Lawmakers introduce bills now and again that would either keep us perennially on standard or daylight saving time. Somehow nothing seems to come of those efforts and so we continue to wash, rinse, repeat so to speak. If I had my way it would be standard time all of the time which seems to be more in tune with our daily rotation on our axis. I think children should be able to walk or ride to school in daylight but if everyone insists on having sun filled nights I’m okay with that as well. I just want one way of doing things with no changes ever again. 

I find it amusing that we have people rebelling over wearing masks in public places but few openly complain about clock changing. If there is one right that is quite important to me it is the ability to sleep peacefully and clock gymnastics take away that freedom twice each year. I’ll wear a mask all day everyday rather than deal with insomnia. The mask is uncomfortable. Not being able to sleep is unbearable. I demand my right to keep my clock just as it was. I’ll see you an hour later or if you choose an hour sooner but please don’t make me change and change again to appease some silly rule. Where are the protesters when we really need them for something important?

I suspect that I sound a bit whiny and there will be those who tell me to just deal with the situation like everyone else does. Still, I really think that there are more who think like me than are apparent. Most of us are of a mind to just go along to get along and so for years and years we continue with the process even though we despise it. No doubt we are too tired to spend energy fighting time changes and when we finally adjust we keep going to catch up on the hours we have lost. Thus the hated cycle continues.

There is a great deal of talk of needing a bit more unity in the halls of government. Perhaps a great beginning to a more bipartisan nation would be to agree to live with one or the other mode of time and then never change it again. I wonder if it’s possible for us to find common ground on what should be a no brainer. Somehow I fear that we might end up in the kind of deadlock that makes us unable to really solve any kind of problem on matter how small, but I can only hope that someone will have the common sense to finally release us from the continual changing of the clocks.