Friday, March 02, 2007

Daylight Savings Time [CCR]

The time to change your clock comes early this year. Why? The government thinks we can save some money. I’m sure we can, except the concept of Daylight Savings Time came long before computers. Of course, when I say computers I don’t just mean the box sitting in most homes. It includes all the machines with industrial systems that like to report their own progress. Managers don’t like to see the time off by one hour. So now we have patches, or little programs that make changes to big programs that are supposed to dig us out of the mess. The mess comes because we changed the routine. I actually wonder if they thought about the cost of patching all these devices.

Grandpa Jones had a wonderful song about Daylight Savings Time. If you haven’t heard it, then it is worth your time. Basically he says if you want an extra hour of daylight, then just get up an hour earlier. The world will take care of itself, or it should.

The cuckoo clock at my Granddaddy Daily’s house never seemed to have trouble tracking time. It relentlessly called out the hours day and night under one condition. Granddaddy pulled the weighted chains every morning reenergizing the clock for another day. I assume Granddaddy made the changes for Daylight Savings Time, but it wouldn’t have mattered. At his house you rose early, even in his elder years, as the routine had been set over long years of work. For a man who had to work when the sun was available it didn’t really matter what value the government applied to time.

If the cuckoo clock wasn’t enough, the roosters played their part in making sure you knew the time. They began their persistent crowing in the hours just before dawn making sure you knew daylight was coming. Granddaddy didn’t have the double paned super insulated windows to lock out the sound. In fact, the sound of the coming day was important as some chores had to be done before daylight.

The schedule remained the same. In the winter Granddaddy built up the fire before breakfast. All year long, even in Daylight Savings Time, Grandmother headed to the kitchen to sift the flour and prepare breakfast. I don’t remember any conditions on these events that were beyond the approaching sunrise.

Nightfall brought bedtime. From my knowledge of Granddaddy’s life I know we live a much different life. Granddaddy needed each of his children to complete their chores to keep the house running. Today my children have the luxury of city life. Much to our own demise, without guidance they head home to a television and computers to waste time in front of electronic entertainment. I suspect Granddaddy’s family was much too tired to worry about the official time. Their own bodies highly anticipated time to sleep.

Now our officials have decided they should help us adjust to save energy. An experimental program to move Daylight Savings Time around is the focus of that program. Maybe we should just shift the clocks an hour for the entire year. Yes, you would miss that “extra hour of sleep” in the fall. But I wouldn’t have to worry about the numerous machines at work along with all the other programmers across the country. And maybe the government could find something else to worry about. Wait. Maybe we are better off letting them worry about time. It could be money well spent.