I did everything right: I got dinner ready early, kept the boys off screens on Sunday night, turned all the clocks back before I went to bed Saturday so we would wake up Sunday as if it never happened -- as if the time change was a chimera. We went through the day, keeping to our normal Sunday schedule where I only put the time in quotes in the quiet and safety of my stubborn brain (which had kept me up late Saturday night writing, and late Sunday night too). Still: I'd gotten them all asleep a little early than the normal quote-bedtime-end quote. That should do it, right?
I found out how wrong I was when I woke up at "7:51" a.m. this morning, nine minutes before Truman's final bell rings. It's only a half-mile away, but when I tried to wake him I was resoundingly unsuccessful. I barely managed to get Everett ready by the time his transportation arrived at "8:15"; we were just late, late, late with Truman, and as I walked him into the cafeteria at "8:50" for breakfast, I said that I guessed we were early for the old, dear, departed time!
"His software hasn't adjusted," I said. And honestly: why is it that we treat ourselves and our kids like computers that can just be reprogrammed twice a year for no apparent reason other than the convenience of... who? Retailers? Manufacturers? (And more, is it of any use at all to businesses these days? Isn't it just harder to get their employees to work at the appointed time a few days a year?) Why are we doing this? Seriously: why?
One study shows that the frequency of heart attacks increases each year after the spring-forward. Another links the time change to suicide. Still another report insists that the change does not, in fact, save energy -- it wastes it! And, oopsies. No one has ever added up the increase in driving due to the extra sunlight; as we know, driving is far worse for the environment than keeping the lights on (especially here in Portland, where most of our power is "clean"). I went to Trader Joe's on Sunday and looked, from drooping eyes, at the cashier. "We all agreed," she said of the employees at the store. "We should end it! Like Arizona!" I love her.
The whole concept was created by Benjamin Franklin (as far as I read, it was on a total whim and was half-joking). It was implemented, at first, during the Great World Wars. While at different times during the history of Daylight Savings time, energy savings were shown by studies to actually exist (as much as 1% per day of the later sunset), no one has ever done a study that weighs the benefits and the costs (to health and well-being and, let's face it, to the constant juggling of clocks and timetables that occurs twice a year -- there must be a cost to that).
What I do know is that the experiment doesn't work for my family. Wrenching our bodies forward and backward in time twice a year creates stress, exhaustion, tardiness, and screws with the really delicate balance I work so hard to establish in my family's routines. It's an enormous flight of whimsy by a man who lived over a century ago and never had to get children up for school in the morning. (Nor, very probably, cook food or wash dishes or feed the chickens.) Here: I promise to turn my TV off two hours earlier all year round if we can just #enddaylightsavings time for good. Who's with me? (And if you agree, please share this post on Facebook and Twitter -- or wherever else you share things -- with the #enddaylightsavings hashtag.)