The Return of Standard Time Means Nothing

Daylight savings time ends tonight, November 5, at 2AM. But it doesn’t matter, and you shouldn’t care very much. 

Not just because we are returning to Standard time, but because the idea of uniform time across the nation is not really harmony. It is just the illusion of harmony.

Don’t worry about adjusting your sleep schedule by 15-minute increments over two weeks. No need to create timed lighting at home. You can skip the melatonin with home-brewed kombucha under a full moon.

Although, the moon will be full at exactly 1:23AM EDT tonight. That’s the first time it turns 1:23AM. The second time your watch says 1:23, it will be EST.

Daylight Savings Time is your time to show who you are. Are you the person who observes what unfolds in order to use your powers judiciously at any given moment? Or do you scatter your energies at any provocation or rumor?

If Sunday brunch brings the opportunity of a lifetime, will you be rested and ready or fretting over imagined jet lag because you got an extra hour at the bar or in bed? 

No joke, be that first person. 

Like the old claim about Valentine’s Day, Daylight Savings Time is totally made-up. We could get into how Valentine’s Day is not made up or how, technically, everything is made up.

Stay anchored in an ever-changing present with the Vassilis A204B-06 (also in feature image).
Stay anchored in the present with Vassilis A204B-06 (feature image).

But Daylight Savings Time is made up.

For most of the 20th century, especially if you lived in the Midwest, it could be any time at all.

Like in a dystopian summer blockbuster or a French novel, no one ever knew if there was about to be a crushing traffic jam or if it was simply happy hour.

Since local government controlled the clock, time toggled back and forth on routes between major cities in Ohio and West Virginia or Iowa and Nebraska (as much as those states have major cities, anyway). Iowa literally had 23 different Daylight Savings dates.

The southern part of Idaho spent 89 years in the “wrong” time zone, because some poor sap made a clerical error back in 1918.

Residents lived by Mountain time, anyway, like their neighbors.

Without veering into the comforts of existentialism, we all know, on some level, there is only one reason Daylight Savings Time exists.

It isn’t to make the most of the daylight hours, as many suggest. We can do that anytime we please. Life is here for us to make or break ourselves.

The state of Florida even proposed some of us just live in Daylight Savings Time forever, with its Sunshine Protection Act, which thankfully failed in 2016. Apparently, no one told them that “Florida Time” already has its own meaning to non-natives.

We follow Daylight Savings Time, because we have a social bias, likely fed by an evolutionary bias, that daytime is better for society than nighttime.

Tell someone you woke up at 6:30AM and they’re impressed—or, at least, non-chalant. Tell them you woke up at 11:30AM, and you get a must-be-nice smirk.

Well, it is nice. Not much in this world is nicer than commanding your own time.

Which is why anxiety or even undue attention to how Daylight Savings Time might impact your life is dull and pointless.

Does the lion care for the opinion of sheep? Why do you care if it’s light out when your watch says 9PM? Is the Earth positioned in space any differently because of it? Does it matter if anything changes?

Here come the comforts of existentialism, anyway.


Vassilis A204B-04
Track the moon’s phases with Vassilis A204B-04.

No matter what numerical value you assign with your watch, the sun still appears to rise on Earth when the ray that appears to be the highest is approximately 34 minutes below the horizon.

The rays’ appearance is due to the distortion of our atmosphere, which creates a lens effect that varies depending on where you live.

Consider, also, that all of this is an illusion, since there is no highest ray of the sun creeping upward over Earth — we are turning away from or towards the sun, always — and therefore, there is no sunrise, in the strictest terms.

At the North and South Poles, axial tilt means there is only ever one illusion of sunrise per year, when the Earth experiences equinox.

You have absolutely no control over the rise and set of the sun, the orbit of the Earth amid the galaxy. Daylight Savings Time is a layer of false control in an uncontrolled universe. Save your energy for greater concerns.

Except don’t forget to set your watch back. You’re supposed to be at brunch at 11.