Archived Opinion

Does anyone really like Daylight Savings Time?

Does anyone really like Daylight Savings Time?

I guess they must exist, these people who actually like setting their clocks back an hour for daylight saving time, these fans of all things dismal and dark.  

I don’t think I’ve ever met one, but I imagine these are the same people who drive 50 miles per hour in the passing lane with cars lined up two miles behind them. 

These are the same people who trap mice on sticky mats and then kill them with a big black shoe. These are the same people who need to see a manager in random places around town about twice a month. 

That’s them. For the rest of us, the hour of rolling the clocks back is waiting out there like a hammer, waiting to crush our resolve to remain hopeful against the encroaching winter gloom. Waiting to crush it like a walnut. 

The hummingbirds have long since packed their postage stamp-sized suitcases and hightailed it to Mexico or Costa Rica, except for the confused ones that wind up in Florida. I haven’t had the heart to bring in the feeders. That feels like defeat, even though the sight of the feeders out there on the deck, still half full of sugar water but abandoned like a defunct theme park, is profoundly sad. 

It is also undeniable that my fuchsias are failing. Every spring, I buy three hanging baskets of fuchsias, the only flower I know how to keep alive for more than two weeks.  

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For whatever reason, fuchsias and I understand each other. I give them a glass of water when they’re thirsty, and the blossoms burst out in every direction like brilliant red and purple popcorn. That’s our agreement, good for about six or seven months. Good until about now, that is, when they are hanging on just barely, but with what quality of life? 

Speaking of quality of life, you know what I like? I like getting home from work and still having time to go for a walk around the lake, throw the ball with the dog in the backyard, enjoy a cocktail on the deck while watching the hummingbirds swooping around like Jedi masters, and then making a leisurely dinner listening to music on the stereo.  

And there is STILL enough daylight to finish dinner and go back out again to watch the lightning bugs start decorating the dusk. 

But when the daylight savings hammer falls this Sunday, all of that is just gone. Now we’re peeling onions in the dark. Now we’re putting on a sweatshirt and some thick socks. Now we’re pulling the puzzles out of the top of the closet and looking up a chili recipe for tomorrow night’s dinner. 

Now we’ve had dinner and it is jet black outside. Only seven more hours until bedtime. 

For most of us, there are some compensations. I like to watch movies, read, and listen to music, and with so much time now available indoors, there is more opportunity for all of that.  

You may come home one night and decide to watch the entire Godfather trilogy back-to-back, and now you have time. Or you could read a short novel. Or knit a sweater. Or paint your bedroom. Or find the source of that annoying little rattle in the bathroom. 

You could call it the season of projects! 

For my daughter, it is the season of conflicts. She hates the oppressive darkness and the cold weather, but she loves the holidays with every particle of her sweet sentimental soul. She likes to start working on her Christmas wish list shortly after Labor Day and has already started bugging me about getting tickets for Christmas at the Biltmore. 

For my wife, there is no such ambivalence. Her feelings on this time of year can be summed up in a single word: bleak. Her range of emotions will vacillate between periods of profound dread and fits of uncontrollable sobbing. 

Do you know that feeling you get on a bitter winter morning when you go out to start your car but you can’t find your scraper, so you have to sit there shivering for a few minutes waiting for the car to warm up enough to defrost the windshield so that you can see to drive, even though it doesn’t ever seem to warm up very well UNTIL you are driving?  

That’s how my wife feels more or less constantly from mid-October until mid-April. If I foolishly suggested that it might be best to look upon this time of year as a season for projects, she might punch me in the throat. 

A few nights ago, she said this: “You need to start working with me to form a plan for us to live half the year in Costa Rica. If you love me, you will help me find a way.” 

Maybe the hummingbirds have it right. And there’s no daylight saving time there either. 

(Chris Cox is a writer and teacher who lives in Haywood County. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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