In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!

. . . from the BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Changing Times

Did you remember to turn your watches/wall clocks/alarm clocks/computer clocks/oven-timers/VCR-timers/DVD-timers/cellphone-timers etc., etc. back--oops, I mean forward-- last night--oops, I mean this morning? Which is it, anyway? Oh, well--we've changed a couple of clocks and a watch or two, one way or the other; I'm not sure which. It's OK--we never quite know whether we're coming or going in the Fleming household, or when.

I'm firmly convinced that most problems in American society are traceable to confusion over the twice-yearly time changes we've all been subjected to since, well, as far back as I can remember. It was worse when I was a kid. We didn't have to change all those timing devices (which, back then, consisted only of clocks and watches) ourselves; Mom and Dad took care of that, if they remembered. But that was the kicker--would they? We vaguely understood that there would be some dire consequences if they didn't, but we didn't know exactly what. Forgetting might mean that we'd be too late (yay!) or too early (boo!) for church. Would it mean that we'd have to eat every meal an hour earlier (yay!) or an hour later (boo!) than usual, for the next six months? Maybe forgetting would mess up the TV schedule. Would there even be any TV? (BIG boo if not!) On top of that, we were told that the time "officially" changed at 2 a.m. So one of us has to stay up until 2 a.m. to change all the clocks? What if he/she fell asleep and woke up at 2:01 a.m.? Would it then be too "late" to change the time? Would time for our family then be an hour earlier or later than for everybody else?

In the face of all this uncertainty, we tried to remember to remind Mom and Dad to change the clocks. But usually, we forgot. Besides, we were never told why this had to be done, and if we were, the explanation wouldn't make any sense anyway. So the Sun can stay up an hour longer in the evening? Explain to me, please, how my Dad moving the hands of a clock around is going to arrest the relative movements of the Sun and the Earth! And, if everything is moved to an hour later at night, how come my bedtime is still 8:30? Huh? NOW I HAVE TO GO TO BED BEFORE THE SUN DOES? Obviously, it was all a nefarious Adult plot.

Nor does the confusion cease just because we've grown up. On the bus home from work Friday I listened to a 20-minute debate among half a dozen people in their 40s and 50s on whether we were supposed to change our timepieces in March or April (as we did for years until some d_mn fool decided to change THAT too), whether they had to be moved "forward" or "back," whether we were "gaining" or "losing" an hour, and whether we'd get "more" sleep or "less." No consensus could be reached on whether the rule is "spring forward" and "fall back," or vice versa. I've never been quite sure about that formula, anyway--at my age, I don't do much springing in any direction, and I'm at least as likely to stumble and fall "forward" onto my face as "back" onto my keester.

To heck with the whole thing. If I don't change all these infernal time pieces at the moment I'm supposed to, the Time Police can just come and arrest me. Wait, this is creepy: the time on all my electronic gadgets has apparently CHANGED ITSELF! I knew they were all going to get together and take over the world--"sooner" or "later."

3 comments:

Donna said...

Don't you think that with the technology we have today, why can't the clocks change themselves? I guess it doesn't really matter to me because Jonathan changed all the clocks when I went to bed. =0)

It's A Wonderful said...

That's very funny...so spot-on about church. How many times were we early or late? And we would have to sit in the car and wait the hour for church!

JoJo said...

My question is: Why do we even have Daylight Savings?