Daylight Insanity Time

November 4, 2007 | 15 comments

A conversation my husband and I just had:

HIM: What time did we decide to make the new bedtime for the kids now that we changed the clocks?

ME: I think we made it a about thirty minutes later.

HIM: Later by old time or new time?

ME: New time. Wait, no, old time. Wait, both. We decided to move bedtime from eight thirty to nine o’clock.

HIM: Nine o’clock old time or new time?

ME: Umm…

HIM: I think we should make it nine o’clock new time.

ME: Sounds good. Then that means that they’re really going to bed later or earlier than they used to, on the old time clock?

HIM: Let’s see, they used to go to bed at eight thirty…

ME: Eight thirty on old time or new time?

HIM: Old time.

ME: Oh, right. So…if they’re going to bed at nine o’clock new time, then, since we set the clocks an hour back, by old time they’ll be going to bed at eight.

HIM: No, that’s wrong, they’d be going to bed at ten by old time.

ME: [Head explodes, abruptly ending conversation]

We have begun the semi-annual Month of Chaos, in which my life is sent into an out-of-control, flailing tailspin by the insanity that is Daylight Savings Time.

They say that this bizarre ritual was the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin. Well, that’s what we get for letting smart people run the country. To a mind like Franklin’s, it probably seemed like a perfectly simple, straightforward idea. Just adjust your clocks to make them display one hour later — what could possibly be easier? Unfortunately, there simpletons out there like me who this change leaves shaking and drooling in a corner somewhere, clutching a bottle of Valium, twitching and muttering about “old time” and “new time”.

I don’t generally think of myself as an idiot. There might even be occasions that I think I’m kind of clever. But around this time each year God sends me Daylight Savings Time as a smackdown in humility to remind me that I’m really not that smart. Then he does it again in April.

They say that people can have different types of intelligence; that someone who, say, has a low IQ might have a very high EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient. Is there a DSTQ, Daylight Savings Time intelligence quotient? Because if there is I’ve got to be about a 20 on that scale, maybe lower. I think if I went in for an MRI the doctors would remark in wonder, “Look! There is an empty void where the Daylight Savings Time Comprehending Area of Mrs. F’s cerebellum is supposed to be!”

So, if my posts are less frequent this week, it’s because I’m using 110% of my brain power to figure out what time it is.


  1. Anonymous

    This post made me laugh so hard, it made my nursing baby very angry. Well, you’re not alone. I think this is the very first year that we managed to show up for Mass on time. The last nine years running, we got there an hour early, spent 20 minutes trying to figure out where everyone was, went home, and went back to the church, late as usual.
    This year was different because we went to the vigil Mass.

    I got up at 1:30 AM, and suddenly remembered to set the clocks back. Then I thought, What if my husband already set them without telling me? Then I thought he must not have, so I set them back; but then I thought he might not realize they were set back already, and he might wake up and see how late it was, but think it was actually earlier. So I was going to put a note on the clock saying “set back” to show that they had been set back. But then I thought he might think it was a request, not a description . . .

  2. Shakespeare's Cobbler

    Where the first < or > indicates movement earlier or later, respectively, of the beginning of daylight, the second of the ending of daylight, and the first row means spring, and the second row fall:

    Sun Time Movement:
    >< Daylight Savings Time Movement
    << To claim that the DSTM helps cope with the STM is like to claim that since our camps are north and south of us we should go east or west. As shown in the diagram, much as it helps in one direction it hurts in the other. Why that would be helpful I have no idea; it seems to me that it only makes a difference if daylight is more relevant in the evening than in the morning or vice versa (or, better yet, that whether it’s that or vice versa depends on whether it’s summer or winter). Unless I and everyone else who hates it have all overlooked some reason why that would be, it’s just a work of chaos. So in answer to your musings, there is a DSTQ and it is usually (not always, but usually) inversely proportional to IQ.

  3. Terri

    You are intellectually stimulating AND funny! Not that I think the two or mutually exclusive.

  4. Abigail

    Not only bed time requires extensive math, but lunch time, dinner time, when to walk the dog time!

  5. Red Neck Woman

    I totally get this! I hate changing my clocks and wine horribly. However, I have hit upon a way to think of the two times that helps me manage that first week. The first is “Body Time” which is what you are calling “old Time” and this will shift gradually during the week to the “Clock Time” which is what you are calling the new time. So you’d say “What clock time are we going to use for bedtime, because of the shifting body time caused by the drooling idots in Congress that somehow think they can control the number of hours in a day by making us think the sun actually came up earlier?” See how much easier that is?

  6. Melanie B


    Well said. Count me among the confused.

    “it seems to me that it only makes a difference if daylight is more relevant in the evening than in the morning or vice versa”

    Interesting point. I guess it depends on whether you’re a morning person or a night owl.

    If I had my way it would be more relevant in the evening. Now the baby’s getting up earlier again, which is painful. The sun is rising before I want to get out of bed and the daylight is gone so early in the evening it’s ridiculous.

  7. Jim McCullough

    Actually, we just got off Daylight Savings Time and back onto Standard Time. But I agree we’d be better off never changing it.

  8. hoverFrog

    Time is an arbitrary method of measurement. Can you even be certain that it progresses in a linear fashion? For instance, it is a quarter to two in the afternoon of the 6th November 2007 here but not where you are. As I am in the future compared to you I set my clocks back sooner than you did. If you’d set your clocks forward in error we still wouldn’t exist in the same time.

    I hope that clears things up for you.

  9. Sarah

    I am so with you!!!!!!!

    I’ve been meaning to post myself…and probably about this very thing…but then I realized that all this figuring out about new time and old time and bedtime and time for meals made me forget about some bills. So the head explosion is pending my payment of some overdue bills. Sigh. (And yes, I really DID just blame my own laziness on the time change. Clever, huh?)

  10. Paul (probably - maybe Liz)

    I feel just the same about daylight saving. I understand the theory, and I know all about what I’m supposed to do with the clocks. But try and explain whether I will be having more or less sleep, and I’m flummoxed.

    Here’s something cute. It works in different directions in different hemispheres. So my brother in law and his wife, living in southern Brazil, spend half the year two hours behind us and the other half four hours behind ….

  11. Red Cardigan

    Funny, Jen!

    But you’re not alone. A relative of mine is confused by time differences. She once called a cardinal in Rome at 3 a.m. under the mistaken impression that it would be 3 p.m. there; she also once diligently set her clocks back an hour because the late night t.v. program she was watching reminded her to do so, but the next morning she was an hour early for Mass, because the program had been a re-run.

  12. four

    Anon made me crack up a second time!

    My DH compounds things by changing HIS clocks sometime around Friday evening so we can “start getting used to the new time” so for several days half of our clocks have moved and half haven’t and I have to try to figure out which are *right* and which are pre-emptive.

    *sigh* we should all move to Arizona.

  13. Emily (Laundry and Lullabies)

    Whoever came up with the idea for DST DEFINITELY did not have children. My word, what a mess.

  14. James

    Yes, come join us here in AZ; no daylight savings time. The only problem is that the rest of the country changes so it effects our TV schedule.

  15. asv

    I suppose you have thought about it, I think you should write a book, comedy or something, you have a way with words! I am always amazed..
    Have a blessed holy week

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