OK, now it’s what… not quite 10 a.m…. and I’m running out of steam. Feel the need for a nap. Stopped myself at two mugs of real coffee this morning, figuring I’ll need some later and not wanting to overdo, peak too soon with the caffeine, but now that I’m finally ready to really get started on the day — breakfast, meetings, etc., out of the way… here comes the drowsiness.
Got up this morning in the dark. Shaved, showered, dressed, headed out to the truck to drive to work. Still dark. Took a seat by the window at breakfast downtown, overlooking the city… still dark. Could hardly read the paper. I was halfway done eating before the sun had completely popped above the horizon.
Part of it’s my fault. Decided to give up sleep for Lent. That is to say, decided instead of beer or whatever this time, I would finally start getting up about an hour earlier. Yeah, I know, you’re thinking that Lent isn’t really for self-improvement, New-Year’s-resolution, been-meaning-to-do-that kinds of things, but at Ash Wednesday mass I thought it through, got all the theology worked out in my head (don’t ask me to explain it all; just trust me — it made sense at the time), and this is what I’m doing. Too late to do beer instead at this point.
But the REAL culprit, the one I’m choosing to blame, is my old nemesis Daylight Savings Time.
I’ve always hated it. Sure, I suppose it’s great for people who live for several hours’ yard work after getting home from the office, but I am NOT one of those people. I wish I were. My wife would think more of me if I were, and no one’s opinion of me matters more, but I’m not. Not that fond of sunshine at all, in fact, which is not something I want to admit, what with all that “They that do evil fear the light” propaganda, but it’s true. Sun comes out, my wife looks for sunny spot in the yard and gets to work. I say, “I have to go out in THIS? Where are my flip-up shades?” Me, I love English weather; I think it’s encoded into my gene structure. Clouds, light mist. And it’s good for the crops.
Speaking of crops, it occurs to me that if we were all farmers, we wouldn’t have Daylight Savings Time. What would be the use of it? You have to get up and milk the cows in the dark anyway, and the sooner the sun rises after that, the better. You work the same number of hours regardless, so what does it matter what the clock says? No, DST is a manifestation of this modern economy, a perversion of the natural order. And I, for one, do not have enough generations of evolution behind me to adjust to it.
The thing is, it divorces clock time from any tenuous connection it has to the natural world. Clock time is a fiction, an imposition of false order on reality. Unlike the year, the day, and in some cases the month, clock time — hours, minutes, seconds — have NO basis in reality, aside from the rough relationship between a second and a heartbeat.
There’s only one way it makes sense, and that’s if noon is at the moment that the sun reaches its zenith. We should do like on the old sailing ships. The captain should assemble his midshipmen on the quarterdeck, have them all shoot the sun with their sextants, and when someone says “I make it noon,” and others confirm, the officer of the deck tells the quartermaster “Make it so,” and your day is based in something real. Turn the glass and strike the bell.
Without that, it’s just a lie, every time we allow our lives to be governed by the clock in any way, shape or form while we are in this unnatural state. A lie I can actually FEEL in my bones. And we’ll all be living this lie until the autumn.