Thief of Time

Our lives are slowly being stolen from us an hour at a time.

I am of course rather predictably complaining about Daylight Saving Time. Well I would at this time of year. However, I think it is something worthy of study. Clocks go forward, clocks go back. Clocks go forward, clocks go back. Clocks go forward, clocks go back. But how come we only ever notice them going forward? I'm serious.

In the autumn when the clocks return to GMT where they should remain (it is, after all, based upon the Sun being overhead at the Prime Meridian at noon) you don't even notice. For all the talk of "a whole extra hour in bed" time seems normal and certainly come Monday morning, getting up for work is just as difficult (or easy, depending upon the temperament) as it ever was. There is no discernable difference.

However, in the Spring when they are advanced an hour in a bid to give golfers more time on the green it couldn't be more noticeable. Despite it not seeming so bad on the Sunday immediately following the advance, it's on Monday morning that we really notice what's been stolen from us. We may claim to always wake up before the alarm and not sleep very well anyway, but the morning suddenly being an hour older than we were expecting reveals these delusions for what they are and flings us into panic. We are going to be late. Perhaps not a whole hour late, but late enough to end up discombobulated for the rest of the day.

The only upside to this is that everyone else is equally discombobulated so you can all band together in the face of adversity as you attempt to recombobulate yourselves.

There is a more sinister side to this though. Given that we never notice the clocks going back but always notice them going forward, this means that our lives are gradually being stolen from us at the rate of an hour a year. It may not sound like much but by the time you're 24 it means that they've already had a whole day off you, and given that the population of the UK is over 60,000,000 this means that every spring the government gets a surplus of seventy centuries. What are they doing with all this stolen time? Is there a giant chronovore living under the Houses of Parliament which demands this as the price of not rising up and destroying us all?

If you think about it, the whole Daylight Saving Time thing is a nonsense. It might make for brighter evenings (and darker mornings) for a short while allowing extra golfing and insect collecting time for those who are into such things, but by the time we get properly into Summer, the sun rises so early and sets so late anyway that any imagined "advantage" of this practice has disappeared. The only period for which DST makes any difference is a month or so after it's done. Can't people just bite the bullet and wait a little bit for the experience of playing golf well into the evening? Patience is a virtue, so they say, and good things come to those who wait.

We just need to get out of the habit. I know habits can be difficult to break but I think it is generally considered to be a good thing to do so. Let's break the mould of the shape of our years and stick to GMT all year round.


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