Getting Tick-Tocked Off

Is this the year we finally lock the clock?

I know, I’m an optimist. (Hey, it comes with being a Colorado Rockies fan.)  Twice a year, we go through the whole “spring forward, fall back” ritual. Each time I keep hoping it’ll be the last. And every year, I keep getting disappointed.

I know I’ve got company. Oh, the argument about how to end Daylight Saving Time goes on and on, between the Standard Time folks who want to wake up to morning light and the Daylight Time ones who want to push back the night as far as possible. But if the debate goes on long enough, it always ends on the same point: “I don’t care where they set it as long as they quit moving the clock around!”

Well, it just might happen this time. There’s a bill …

Yeah, yeah, I hear the groans. There’ve been bills before. This one, however, wants to take the initiative – a ballot initiative, that is. State senators Ray Scott and Jeff Bridges and State Rep. Cathy Kipp have introduced a measure that, if adopted, would ask Coloradans to vote on whether to stay on Standard Time permanently. In other words, to “fall back” and stay back.

Why not permanent Daylight Time? Because federal law doesn’t allow it. A state can either do the biannual flip-flop or it can stay on Standard Time, but anything else requires an act of Congress. And if you’ve seen Congress’s ability to work together lately … yeah.

Still. Think about it.

No more confused pets wondering why feeding time has suddenly changed.

Fewer drowsy drivers in the early spring, boosting the accident totals.

No fumbling with the microwave and stove clocks, trying to remember (again) how to reset them.

We’d even get a slightly better utility bill out of it. Studies have shown that year-round standard time would lower heating and cooling costs, especially in the fall near the end of DST. (Lighting costs, which have become much lower in these days of LEDs, would barely tick upward in comparison.)

It makes sense. And therefore it’s probably doomed.

Still, one can hope. After all, if these last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that time is what we make of it.

Sometimes we barely notice it pass. (“How did she get to be a high school senior already?”) Sometimes it seems to drag forever. (“Welcome to March 57th, 2020.”) We measure time for our convenience, to keep some consistency as we move through the cycles of the world, but it’s our attention and our activities that define it.

So yes, we grumble in annoyance when a little of that consistency gets jerked away. But the bigger question isn’t where we set the clock … it’s how we fill the time. What are we doing to give that time meaning?

That doesn’t have to mean writing the Great American Novel or filling our days with constant activity. But there should be something that brings a little light into existence, and not just because of a time change. It might be reaching out to a neighbor. Or taking joy in something you love, whether it’s a book or a garden patch. It could mean creating, conversing, walking, or simply finding a quiet moment to just be.

The efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth was once asked why he wanted to save time  – what was it for? His response, recounted in Cheaper by the Dozen, was simple:

“For work, if you love that best … For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure. … For mumblety-peg, if that’s where your heart lies.”

Whatever time we’re given, let’s use it well.

And if it can stop jumping around while we’re trying to use it, so much the better.

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