More than 20 years ago, in the car coming home from school, my 6-year-old son asked what he was supposed to wear to my younger brother’s upcoming wedding.
“Your suit,” I said.
There was a long pause. I thought the conversation was ended.
But after a couple of minutes, this pronouncement came from the back seat. “I guess Uncle Wayland doesn’t care if I’m itchy the whole time.”
In fact, as Uncle Wayland explained later, he didn’t care that much. He said he too would be itchy the whole time and nobody seemed to care about that either.
But Terrell’s statement has been a sort of go-to fill-in-the-blank comment for our family ever since. We’re always guessing no one cares if whatever it is we’re expected to do causes our personal discomfort. Take daylight saving time, for instance.
I guess no one cares if I will be — rhymes with itchy, but since I can’t bring myself to say that about myself, so I’ll just say — “grouchy” the whole time daylight saving time is in effect.
I know. Every year I rant and rave about having to spring forward to daylight saving time. I hate losing the hour. I detest the kink in makes in my natural schedule. I get more and more confounded each year as to why it’s necessary to up and – for no apparent reason – set our clocks forward an hour, then reverse it seven months later.
A precious hour it is, I might add. It’s that hour when the bed is the comfiest, the sleep the most restful that the alarm jangles and jars me awake, and it’s dark (very dark) outside, so dark it feels like I’ve just gotten to bed. When I get in the car to begin my morning commute which involves getting my granddaughter to school, it’s still dark. I pass through two school zones and children are crossing the street. In the dark.
Every year I say this. You cannot save daylight. Every 24-hour day has a God-intended and appointed time of daylight and dark and the periods of time gradually and naturally ebb and flow as the seasons change. Saving daylight is sort of the same ridiculous idea I have for saving money. Money goes into my account at the end of the month, and, on the first of the month, money is taken out to pay rent, for my car and insurance and other bills.
My point is, If you have X amount of time and money and you use it all up, you can’t call it saving.
Since 1966, federal law allows states to opt out of DST, but states cannot opt out of their standard time. For whatever reasons a regulated DST was adopted 50 years ago, they simply no longer apply.
DST does not save energy. We’re a 24/seven world. Factor in the additional use of air conditioning, energy use is increased. Changes in schedules caused by the spring forward/fall back clock adjustments are detrimental to health and well-being. Crimes and car accidents increase. People suffer from sleep deprivation, strokes and heart attacks. Farmers work daylight to dark, and livestock can’t tell time, so the suggestion DST is of benefit to the agricultural industry is wrong.
As much as I prefer standard time year-round, I have friends who prefer DST. That’s fine. I understand. All of us do seem to agree, however, the twice-a-year time change is an unnecessary disruption.
Why can’t we choose a time and stick with it, year in, year out? To do so, takes legislation and last year a bill to end daylight saving time in Texas did not pass the house. Now, a grass roots group is pushing for Texans to have the chance to vote on the time changes, with three options offered on the ballot. One, continue with the status quo; two, stay with daylight saving time year round; or three, stay with standard time year round.
As part of the push, the “Texas DST – End Time Changes” group is asking for a letter-writing campaign starting this week. Send your letters, notes and postcards to: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, P.O. Box 12068, Austin TX 78711; and Rep. Gary Elkins, P.O. Box 2910; Austin TX 77065-2910. Make your pleas detailed and insistent. This is Texas, by God and glory. We deserve the right to not have to waste time changing our clocks and shifting our schedule two times a year.
Of course you don’t have to do anything. But remember, I’m going to be grouchy (or itchy with a b) if you don’t.
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, formerly of Brownwood, now living in San Angelo. Her weekly columns are published Sundays in the Brownwood Bulletin and Thursdays in the San Angelo Standard-Times and are unique for each paper. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.