When I was nine or ten, I refused to switch over to Daylight Savings Time. My uncle had given me a watch, with glow-in-the-dark hands and numbers, and I wore it all the time – set to Standard Time, the whole year. If anyone ever asked me the time (they never did – I was nine or ten years old), I would tell them the time in Standard Time.
I only did it that one year, and I guess it didn’t accomplish anything, other than the satisfaction of having done it. But for me, the episode is a reminder that even kids understand that the whole Daylight Savings thing is a bunch of bull and ought to be resisted.
As an adult, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing other adults complain about Daylight Savings every time it comes around, and there are even legislative efforts to do away with it. But it occurs to me that even though the problem is a product of centralized control, the solution may not need to be centralized at all – not even at the state or local level.
Here’s what I’m thinking:
We already have multiple time zones, and people around the world are accustomed to dealing with them. We schedule calls and meetings with an awareness of the differing time zones of the participants, and most scheduling and online meeting software automatically adjusts times for individuals depending on where they are.
So throwing a few more time zones into the mix shouldn’t be a big deal.
What if everyone who no longer wishes to have their lives disrupted by the Daylight Savings Time farce simply declares a new time zone for themselves? For half of the year, that time zone would be the same as that of the region in which they live: Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard Time, etc. But when everyone else switches over to “Daylight Time”, everyone in this “new” (it’s actually quite old) zone would stay put. It would even be easy to name: Instead of “Eastern Daylight Time” or “Eastern Standard Time”, simply, “Eastern Permanent Standard Time”, etc.
Adjusting online scheduling will be easier than in-person scheduling, especially if people develop widgets to use with Zoom and other software, or – dare we hope? – these apps add the “new” time zones on their own. (Arizona and Hawaii already do not follow DST, and are always on permanent Standard Time. So the idea of incorporating new time zones that remain constant throughout the year is not especially radical.)
For in-person scheduling, the person choosing to be on “(Whatever region) Permanent Standard Time” could take it upon themselves to clarify which standard the person with whom they are scheduling uses, or to assume that the other person is following DST unless they indicate otherwise.
The big issue will be school and work starting times. For those who do not have flexibility in these areas, here is my suggestion: Go to bed and get up, at the same times (in “Permanent Standard Time”) throughout the year. Make these times early enough that when everyone else goes to the earlier schedule, you don’t have to disrupt your sleeping hours in order to get to work, or your kids to school, on time.Will implementing all of this entail some effort, hassle, disruption? Sure it will. Any kind of change involves some of all of this. The only relevant question is whether or not the change is worth the headache. And – here, as everywhere else – the only person qualified to make that judgement is the individual involved.
Those who are more aware of the impact of the circadian rhythms on our bodies, health, and wellbeing, may decide that it is absolutely worth a little extra hassle to avoid this disruption to our physical and energetic health. Those who are less aware, or less concerned, may decide it is not.
Early 21st-Century America is testament to the abject stupidity and deadliness of collective decision making. If we are to make things better in any of the areas of our lives that have been ravaged by government solutions, we must make every effort to bring decision making to the individual level. Daylight Savings Time is one area where we already possess the power to do just that.