Monday, November 8, 2010

"Daylight Savings Time Is Good! I Mean Bad! Very Bad!"

I liked daylight-saving time (the correct form of the term, at least according to the AP style guide I had to follow while working on the Beacon) much better when I lived in Michigan. I was a firm supporter of it, mostly because it didn't cost me anything. Even with the time shift, the day stayed light until at least six during the worst part of the winter. I argued in favor of it in an editorial for my college newspaper. (Indiana was one of only a few states not to participate in daylight-saving time; they made the decision to start during my senior year of college. Many people from Indiana were upset. I told them to grow up and stop being contrarian.)

Living in Illinois is a different story. What makes daylight-saving time not such a big deal in Michigan, or even Indiana, I think, is that both states are toward the western edge of their time zone. They're on the same time as New York, but they have more daylight later in their waking hours because it takes the sun longer to set over them. Illinois, in contrast, is on the eastern end of its time zone, making it dark earlier.

When I came to Illinois for my interview at the company I work for now, the person I would be staying with cautioned me over the phone, "You might want to arrive early; it gets dark here at 4:30." I thought this had to be an exaggeration; this is not Alaska, after all. Alas! Exaggeration it was not, nor was it entirely accurate. I arrived at 4:15, and it looked like full-fledged nighttime when I drove in.

I'm still not entirely opposed to the idea of daylight-saving time, but when we "fall back" in Illinois, I know depressing times are ahead. When I first started working here, I worked in a cubicle, and I would arrive in the dark and leave in the dark. Daylight was a distant memory. Now I have an office with a window (though this makes it much colder...), so maybe things will improve this year. But I still know that winter is a long and dark season that pushes me to the edge of despair. Christmas is more than symbolic light; it nearly marks the turning point to lighter days ahead. It will be most welcome.

The title of this post comes from an argument that my roommate and I had about daylight-saving time during my senior year of college. (Incidentally, he wrote the opposing editorial to my piece on daylight-saving time.) Well, we were having a heated argument, and he made a move to tell the whole world the "true" view on the issue. He opened our apartment's window and yelled out, "Daylight savings time is good!" He grinned at me, but when he saw me laughing, he realized his mistake. He followed it up with, "I mean bad! Very bad!"

What about you? Do you like daylight-saving time and all it entails? What about "falling back" specifically?

Oh, and another question that pertains to a discussion Abby and I were having this morning: Did your schoolbus pick you up at your house? Where did you grow up? (This information will greatly help. Thanks!)


  1. I dislike DST. I've never figured out the point.

    My schoolbus did not pick me up at home. Grew up in Minnesota.

  2. The argument for DST is a pragmatic one, as far as I understand it:

    1. Fewer accidents/safer regarding morning commute and children waiting for the bus.
    2. More efficient use of energy (shifts daylight to when people are awake to take advantage of it).

  3. A conversation with about 5 people on the CTA bus the other day confirmed that daylight-saving time is not a friend to the Chicago commuter. Speaking for this group: we would much rather have the dark part of the day occur on the train in, when we can be sleeping. Leaving the office in the dark, then spending 1.5-2 hours on buses and trains in the dark, makes you feel like the day is OVER by the time you get home. I don't have a window in my office, so I see the sun very little during the winter.

    Due in part to daylight-saving time, my typical evening in the winter consists of getting home, eating dinner, and then fumbling around trying to read or knit for a few hours, but my body has already decided it's time for bed, so things are pretty groggy. This frequently turns into dissatisfying on-again off-again napping on the couch until it's time to go into the bedroom for a full night's sleep. However, even with daylight-saving time, I wake up before the sun is up, so it doesn't really help me wake up the next morning. It really does make the winter pretty depressing.

    Also, I grew up in Mishawaka, IN, and my bus picked me up right in front of my house. For a majority of the school year, the bus picked me up in the dark, because we didn't have daylight-saving time when I was growing up. I don't know if this was the reason I didn't have to walk to a bus stop, or if it was just because I was in a fairly affluent school district.

  4. I must admit I used to like daylight savings. When I lived in Ohio I definitely didn't see the big deal ... even in Fort Wayne, it's probably not that big of deal but currently I drive to work at 6am and the sun is rising .. it's nice but kind of irrelevant. Then I get out of school at 4, by the time I actually get out of the building it is atleast 4:30 going on fine and guess what? The sun is setting so by the time I get home, night has fallen. So like Abby, I think I would rather it just be dark in the morning and a little light still when I get home. Maybe this is less a problem with daylight savings and more a problem with the unfortunate span of hours that I work but I will say this is my first year that I am not enjoying daylight savings.

  5. Living in Illinois, I'm not as crazy about DST as I used to be. It really does make a difference when you work full-time; working hours prevent you from enjoying the daylight you have. I'm still not sure how I feel about repealing it, though. (As if I had the power to do so!) It doesn't benefit me these days, but it does benefit others...or so I'm told.

  6. I maintain my original sentiments--without confusion--and am glad to see you all are coming to your senses.

  7. I must say that DST is causing a lot of problems at work.. People call me to schedule their conference calls and most of the state of Arizona does not observe DST. This is causing a lot of confusion and frustration for everyone around - especially our customers even though they're not even sure about the DST situation.

    As far as I'm concerned, I would like to see everyone, everywhere observing DST or nobody at all. It would make time so much easier.

    In response to your seemingly random question (that will probably make more sense later on), as a child, I was not picked up directly in front of my home but rather a few blocks away while in school. I grew up in Carol Stream, IL

  8. As for DST, I don't know that I have a preference; it's all I've known. I've lived in Michigan all my life.

    As for the bus question: In elementary school I walked about a block to the bus stop, which can be seen from our house. The closest elementary school stop is now in front of our house. In middle school and high school I walked about a block and a half to the bus stop, which could not be seen from our house (oh, how I remember the dark, bitter-cold mornings of winter at that bus stop). The middle school/high school stop is now the same stop that used to be the elementary stop.

  9. I, too, used to love DST as a child, but now it seems it's getting darker earlier, even in Michigan!

    As for the bus pick-up question, I was always picked up at my driveway, but on warm days, I'd be dropped off about 1/4 mile from my house, at the nearest intersection, to walk home, to avoid a bus turn-around. And I grew up in farm-country in the thumb of Michigan. :)