Saturday, March 19, 2011

364. Daylight Savings Time Has Ruined My Life

Why can I not live in Arizona or Hawaii where clocks never get changed for Daylight Savings Time? I can barely make it to things on time as it is (on a normal day), now I am expected to run around my house and change the 70 or so random clocks we have in every room of the house (Don’t forget the microwave!) to reflect one hour’s disappearance? It would take me three hours (minimum) to change them all, so I would lose eight and a half hours all together.

In a (shortsighted) moment of rebellion, I decide not to change any of the clocks right now. Okay, it’s not so much rebellion as laziness. Well, not so much laziness as perfectionism.

Let me explain. We own one fancy digital clock (a gift from father, who loves clever gadgets) that communicates via satellite with the national atomic clock in Colorado to tell us the exact time, to the millisecond, that the world observes. This clock wisely sets itself. Obviously, the intelligent thing to do is to traipse around the house holding the “control” clock and (perfectly) set each individual clock from that.

Ugh, who can be bothered? Not me. Since Daylight Savings Time happens on a Saturday night and initially only affects Sunday, I decide to postpone modifying the clocks.

On second thought, I must change my watch because I have to go to work on Sunday. The Boss might have an expectation that I would be on time, due to the fact that they are paying me.

All right, so at least the watch is correct. I can zip around the house later, maybe after work tonight, and do some of the other clocks then.

Instead, when I get home, I immediately pour myself a glass of wine (it’s been a long day) and start regaling The Husband with witty anecdotes from today’s foray into selling pans at the high-end kitchen store. There was the bride-to-be who came in to register with her sister, her best friend, her mother, her future mother-in-law, and her neighbor—but no groom in sight! There was the well-dressed elderly man who kept walking in and out of the store every 10 minutes to sample food from our cooking demonstration, to the point that—clearly—this was his big meal for the day. There was the snobby woman who bought a very large crystal bowl and expected me to gift-wrap it in two seconds (I should have used the time change excuse on her—“It will take me longer, uh, due to Daylight Savings Time. I’m sure you understand.”)

The Husband listens patiently to my stories; I’m sure he looks forward to these moments all week (ed. note: he does not). Then I happen to glance at the clock on the fireplace mantel. Uh, oh, it says eight. Is it really eight? Or is it actually nine (or, optimistically) seven?

“Is that clock right?” I ask The Husband, as I point to the offending cube of silver and glass. “Did you change it?”

“I didn’t change it,” he scoffs, “you told me not to. You said you were going to change them all because you wanted to set every clock five minutes fast.”

Did I say that? It does sound like something I might say. Huh. I do like the clocks to all be precisely five minutes fast (even the clock on my car dashboard) because then I have that five minute built-in cushion so I can be my punctual Virgo self.

“Are you going to change them all right now, then?” prods The Husband. “It might be a good idea.”

“Ugh. No. I’ll do it tomorrow, when I have a little more energy,” I say, my shoulders wilted.

Monday morning I wake with a start. I grab the only correct timepiece (my Timex wristwatch) in the entire house and look at it: 7:45. If this were yesterday, it would only be 6:45. And if it were yesterday, we would be 15 minutes early waking up. As it is, we are 45 minutes late.

I hate math.

In a whirlwind of shouting and throwing clothes on small children and hurling Cheerios and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and half-finished homework in their general direction, I miraculously manage to get the boys  and their backpacks out the door and to the school bus on time (the new time, that is).

I crawl back to the house, ready for my first cup of coffee (the one that was omitted, courtesy of Daylight Savings Time). I look at the kitchen clock: 7:32. My brain is stuck in the mode of calculating the matrix that is time: that should really say 8:32, but if it were yesterday, then 7:32 would still be right. It is a lot darker—no, lighter?—no, darker now in the morning with the time change.

All day long, I slog along in this limbo land of maybe-I-should-break-down-and-change-the-clocks-after-all. In the laundry room, I see the clock says 12:32. Lunch. Wait, am I hungry? Am I not hungry? If this were yesterday, would I be hungry now, or would I be hungry in, say, one hour?

I timidly stick my foot in the water of time, and ultimately change a few of the clocks. Ah, much better! This should confuse everyone, especially me!

The fireplace clock is correct, as is the clock on the TV cabinet (the Colorado clock), my alarm clock (but not The Husband’s one on his side of the bed), the stove clock (but not the kitchen wall clock), and the clock in the study (but not the one in the children’s toy area). I am suddenly Alice In Wonderland, drinking the tea of too early and too late and never right-on-time.

The Husband gets home from work late early and sighs. “You’re not going to believe this, MOV, but not all the clocks at our office got changed over the weekend! Do you have any idea how frustrating that is, to look at a clock and realize you can’t even trust it to do its basic clock job—tell the time? Ugh, I just hate being late, and all day long, I kept looking at these clocks and wondering which one has been changed and which one hasn’t …”

I know exactly how he feels.

(“Movado, Omega, Victorinox”)


  1. we are boycotting daylight savings time. it does not exist in this household. logan doesn't believe in it (wait... i thought it was fact?) and i have a baby do can't get anywhere on time. as an excuse for my perpetual tardiness, i claim that i don't believe in it either.

  2. Hahaha! I live in Arizona. Guess when I discovered the rest of the world had switched times? WEDNESDAY! It was awesome.

  3. In the middle of reading this today (3/22, some nine days after the change) I headed upstairs for cup of coffee and on the way saw another clock that was an hour off. How many are still left? There is one advantage (and one only) to the time changes and it’s only in the Fall -- when preparing for a planned social event with someone who is perennially late, the extra hour (if that someone is unaware of the change) means you will be on-time.

  4. I set my clocks fifteen minutes ahead so I won't be as late as I would have been.

    Cindy Graham


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