Rushing the Season

Don’t worry—I’m not about to launch into a diatribe about Christmas displays in stores before Halloween. No, the “season” in question is Standard Time.

My walking route comes within two blocks of a church that has, in its belfry, a loudspeaker that broadcasts clock chimes. It chimes the quarter and half hours using a traditional (Westminster?) pattern. The full chime precedes the striking of the hour, which is followed by a hymn. The clock is usually pretty accurate, so that the striking of the hour begins right at the top of the hour.

I was finishing up a work project this morning and didn’t get out for a walk till well after noon and thus was within earshot of the church at 12:59, when, sure enough, I heard the chimes. To my surprise, though, the clock then struck not one but twelve!

I have two theories about this phenomenon: (1) the clock is automatically set by some (slightly) outdated software that believes Standard Time began last weekend (as it used to do), or (2) the church staff leaves at noon on Fridays and decided to “fall back” to Sunday’s time before leaving. The senior pastor of the church is a member of my Rotary club, so I suppose I can ask him next week if I think of it—not something I’ll lose a lot of sleep over, I guess.

Indeed, I’ll be enjoying an extra hour of sleep this weekend thanks to the time change. I do really think I’m owed two hours, though, since I had to “spring forward” twice this year, once in early March when the United States changed time and again the last weekend in March when the time change occurred in England, where I was at the time. (The latter, combined with an alarm clock accident, conspired to cause us to very nearly miss our flight home.)

All this brings to mind the incredible waste of manhours involved in resetting clocks twice a year. Even more drastic is the necessity to reset our body clocks. I recently read that, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is a 5% increase in heart attacks over the first week after setting clocks forward (6% on Monday and Wednesday, 10% on Tuesday) and a corresponding 5 % decrease after setting them back (but only on Monday). The fact that the increase is more pronounced than the decrease suggests that the temporal disorientation is not worth it. Sure, it’s nice to have that “extra” hour of daylight on summer evenings, but I’ll be much gladder not to have to be getting up in the dark now. I would happily live on Standard Time year-round, but if the choice came down to living on Daylight Saving Time year-round, I could live with that, too, to avoid the semiannual nuisance of resetting clocks—and myself.

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1 Response to Rushing the Season

  1. Joe Bullington says:

    Your first theory is right, and the associate pastor who knew how to re-set the system moved in June.


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