By the time you read this – assuming you’re reading it on the first Sunday of November – you’ll be reading the words of a woman who has just enjoyed her most favorite hour of the year.
At the stroke of 2 a.m. we officially processed out of Daylight Saving Time to Central Standard Time (here in most of Texas and states directly north of our border, that is). God’s real time, as I like to call it.
Part of God’s grand design of the earth was there would be a natural ebb and flow of night and day. He intended for seasons to change, the time of daylight to decrease and night’s darkness to increase as summer changed to fall and fall to winter; then as spring begins, the hours of darkness decrease by minutes each day and the length of time of daylight increases. God, who can do all things, never thought of “saving daylight.” What makes fools with clocks think they can?
Faithful readers know I’ve bellyached for years about Daylight Saving Time. I’ve grumbled and griped, gone so far as to research actual facts and statistics and refute false claims about the loss of an hour each spring. That farmers prefer it. (They don’t. They work from sunup to sundown and their animals don’t have watches.) That it saves energy. (It doesn’t, and by the way, we live in a 24/seven world. Homes and businesses use electricity for lights, cooling and heating night and day.)
I’ve written and encouraged others to write state legislators and the lieutenant governor pointing out the ridiculousness of arbitrary, but mandated, time changes. I’ve never received the most cursory response, nor do I know anyone who has.
While I’ve always complained, I do eventually accept what has to be done, and get on with life. I’ve gone so far as to ask that if we can’t leave it at Standard time, could we maybe consider leaving it at Daylight Saving Time. In other words, could we quit already with the twice-a-year time changes?
Except, I have a brand-new, true-experience argument against Daylight Saving Time. I started a job with the San Angelo ISD in August as an instructional aide at an elementary school. I am required to be at work by 7:20 a.m. With Daylight Saving Time in effect, I arrive at school when it’s still pretty pitch-black dark. When I cross the street to the school from the faculty parking lot, there’s a cross-guard in a fluorescent vest holding a glow-in-the-dark stop sign who ushers me, other teachers and a few arriving-at-school-early students across.
Last Tuesday, I stopped (like always) at the four-way stop at the corner of the school building prepared to make a right-hand turn to the street in front of the school.
The crossing guard was on the curb to my left. Neither of us saw any children. But, as I started to ease around the corner, the guard began blowing his whistle, waving his stop sign. He fairly sprinted to the middle of the intersection, where by then I could see three children crossing from the corner diagonally across from the corner where I was stopped.
My heart literally stalled. Now the truth is, it probably would have been OK. It is a four-way stop. It is a clearly-marked school zone. No one’s speeding through there and those children, though careless, wouldn’t have gotten in a car’s way. The fact is, no one – not me, not the crossing guard – had seen them until it was technically too late, and, if it had been Central Standard Time, it would have been daylight by then and we would have seen them.
Last spring after the time change, in that same neighborhood, maybe two streets over, a boy was riding his bike in the street as the sun was going down. The setting sun’s glare momentarily blinded a woman driving an SUV and she hit the boy, killing him. Again, just saying, if it hadn’t been Daylight Saving Time, the sun would have already been down, and he – more than likely – would not have been riding his bike there.
Alas, we can argue light, dark, could-have, should-have until the cows come home (sometime before dark, I suppose). Me and God? We prefer Central Standard Time, and I will relish that sweet hour of peaceful sleep today, and appreciate the good time until I must lose that hour again in the spring.
I don’t expect much to change. But I still wish the time didn’t have to.
Candace Cooksey Fulton, formerly of Brownwood, is a freelance writer now living in San Angelo. She writes weekly columns for the Brownwood Bulletin and the San Angelo Standard-Times, each unique to the particular paper. She can be reached at email@example.com.