Happy birthday, Willie Nelson!
He is 80 today!
I’m not a fan of Daylight Saving Time. For one thing, no one seems to be able to say its name correctly, opting for Daying Savings Time, and that’s just annoying.
There’s ostensibly a valid reason for doing it. Daylight Saving Time — or DST, as I’m going to call it for the rest of this post — hit big in the United States after the energy crisis of the 1970s, and was primarily intended to cut down on evening power use by “extending” daylight into the post-work hours. It was around before this, to be sure, but that’s the genesis of what we’re dealing with today.
The thing about this is that there’s no extra daylight in a day where the time is shifted. The hour we “get” at the end of the day is taken from the beginning of the day, so all those lights that have to be turned on in the morning because it’s black as pitch outside? Those lights burn the same amount of time as they would if it got darker “earlier” without DST. The entire exercise is pointless.
I also find it’s ridiculous that we force kids to go to school in the morning before the sun is even up. It’s bad enough that school starts as early as it does, forcing kids out of bed at the crack of dawn, but it’s worse when they actually see the crack of dawn after getting on the bus. I don’t understand the benefit of this at all, and no one has ever been able to explain it to me.
And then there’s the matter of all that extra evening daylight. Here’s the thing: at nighttime it should be dark. The work day is over and everyone is back in their houses for dinner and sleep, so the sun ought to be gone from the sky. We go to bed early in this house because of the demands of the ridiculous school schedule, so we’re in bed by eight most nights. During DST, that means the sun is still up, sometimes for another hour or more. It’s still light at nine o’clock at night! How does that make sense?
Obviously we’re going to have longer days in general because it is summer and that’s how summer goes, but it creates a whole new level of stupidity once we factor in DST. No one needs it to be light at nine o’clock in the evening. No one. There’s no practical purpose for this whatsoever, and extending the entire mess all the way into November — thanks, Dubya! — is beyond goofy.
The clock is unfortunately our master. Our entire society is based around clocks and timetables and no amount of kvetching on my part is going to change that. All I ask is that we stop treating the clock like a playtoy and use it reasonably. Since the whole thing doesn’t have the practical effect it’s set up to have, and since it creates problems where there aren’t any, DST is a bust. Let’s get rid of it.
All winter long, every winter long, I dream of only one thing: snow, and lots of it. I’m not necessarily the sort who demands three feet of snow, but a good eight to twelve inches is enough to make me happy, especially if it sticks around for a while. There’s nothing quite so depressing as a beautiful blanket of snow that’s washed away by rain or melted off by the next day.
Anyway, we’ve had an incredibly mild winter here — thanks, carbon-producers of the world! — and that means… no snow. Not even the hint of snow. Occasionally we’ve had an overnight freeze, which has left sidewalks and windshields in need of a good scraping, but there’s been no snow. I thought today we were going to change all of that. The Weather Channel is calling it Winter Storm Saturn, because apparently the Weather Channel gets to name every little weather system now because of a deal with somebody who’s in charge of such things.
So get this: west of here about 45 minutes’ drive, Saturn is supposed to dump anywhere from fourteen to eighteen inches of snow. Just 45 minutes away! We, on the other hand, are projected to get four to eight at a maximum, but only after a long day of cold rain. Bleh.
Here’s the thing about rain/snow mixes around here: they never seem to change into real snow. Oh, I wish they would, but they invariably end up being drizzly, cold rain and eventually they stop without a single snowflake hitting the ground. It’s a disappointment for everyone, not just me, because most people dislike winter rain. At the same time, they always bitch if they have to shovel so much as a single shovel’s worth of snow, so there’s no pleasing some people.
So I’m sitting here this morning with it raining outside, while downstairs my son watches YouTube. The schools preemptively closed, expecting like everyone else this promised deluge of snow. Some administrative folks are going to be pretty ticked off that they burned one of the school system’s four snow days on rain, especially if the snow doesn’t ever come, or shows up late, thus precipitating (ha!) another closing.
There was a snow “storm” this morning, so I did my wife a favor and drove her to work. She doesn’t care to drive when the conditions aren’t great and when we got started it was pretty thick. Of course it ended almost as soon as it started, so it was a false alarm and a disappointment for me, because I like a lot of snow.
Anyway, I was on my way back home and stopped at a light when I remembered an incident from my childhood. I’ve recalled it before, so it wasn’t like I suddenly had a switch turned on in my brain, but it’s an amusing recollection that always makes me smile a little.
When I was a teeny little boy, I was enamored of The Munsters. Because I couldn’t read, I didn’t know the real name of the show, so I called it The Monster Family, and I looked forward to watching it every afternoon. One day, when I was supposed to be napping, I could scarcely contain my anticipation for the day’s episode, so I sneaked out of bed and went to the kitchen where the newspaper was. I found the TV page, which I recognized from seeing my parents reference it, and tried to find out when The Monster Family would be on. The problem, of course, was that (as I mentioned before) I could not read, so all the scribbles in the little boxes were completely meaningless to me.
So engrossed was I in trying to decipher these hieroglyphics that I didn’t notice my mother approaching until her shadow loomed over me. I knew I was in trouble then, but she just scooted me off to bed and this time made sure that I took my nap. I got to see The Monster Family later that day, so it was all good.
That story amuses me: 1) because only a little kid would get that excited about The Munsters, which is not exactly classic television, and 2) because I really thought I could force myself to be able to read through sheer willpower. It makes me think about what a great and strange gift reading is.