Is Anyone Awake/Up Out There Yet?

I’ve filed this under “Weather Lore” but it really doesn’t quite fit into that category.  Daylight Savings Time fits into a category all its own, one designed to both delight and flummox us at the same time.

As gardeners, we’re delighted to have the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day to get outside and do some work in the yard–and most of our yards, especially where the winter was severe, need all the help they can get this year!

But adjusting to that extra hour of less sleep somehow makes one feel as if one’s just stepped off a plane a few time zones east of the one one’s actually in–at least it makes me feel that way.  And it only gets worse the older I get (and I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t know anyone getting any younger.  If you do, please have them get in touch with me!)

They’re just now beginning to do research on this “spring ahead, fall back” stuff.  They have known for years that there were more accidents on the day after we changed the clocks.  But suddenly they’re finding out that there are more heart attacks too–especially with the spring time change.

And they’re finding out that high schoolers, a group who is already notoriously sleep deprived anyway, have a drop in their SAT scores if the tests are given around the time of the time change.  They expected to see a drop in the scores of about 3-5 points.  They found a 16 point drop.  Not good!  All of this and more was in an on-line version of a story in my local paper, the Hartford Courant.

So it was amusing to read this op-ed piece in the New York Times about another time when a great time shift caused upheaval to the general populace: when the railroads suddenly decreed that times had to conform to “railroad” time and some places had to adjust their time by as much as 28 minutes! Oh, the nerve of them!

Interestingly enough, the piece also makes reference to the long tradition of Connecticut clock-making and how it took over the west.  It’s worth a read.

As a side note, when the Spoiler got in the car and looked at the clock last night, I remarked upon the time to him and he said, “Yeah but is that the real time or some approximation of it?”  I told him it was the real time because I had an atomic clock.”  Naturally be thought the clock in the car was the atomic clock so I had to explain that no, one of the clocks in the house was an atomic clock, so I used that clock to set my watch by, and then I went around and re-set all the other clocks using my watch so they were all fairly well calibrated.  But it was an interesting observation of that “all time is approximate” theory in action.”

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