Friday, March 09, 2007

Springing Ahead Sooner

Ostensibly, in its infinite ambition if not wisdom, the government has chosen to spring ahead three weeks earlier this year. That's right: don't wait 'til April Fool's Day to set those clocks forward an hour. Tomorrow night's the night.

The good news is maybe millions of people will miss church this Sunday, and the world will turn a tick more secular. Oh, but then those sleepy-headed church goers will just take up the slack with an extra hour of sports watching or mall mongering. Or, as it turns out, bar-b-que-ing.

The government says the reason for the earlier time shift is... to save energy. The idea is that with an extra hour of evening daylight, we will turn on fewer lights. That idea originated back before World War II, when people might really have saved some energy. But now, people don't sit around in the daylight, enjoying some front porch or stoop time idly watching their neighbors stroll by. No, they fire up the car and head out shopping. More recent studies actually show that daylight savings time is good for only one thing: increasing consumption. More sales of just about everything, especially outdoor stuff like grills and golf clubs and greens fees and sports gear and gasoline and take out food (and bicycles, so ok, it's not ALL bad).

I've been a lifelong fan of those luxuriously daylit evenings, thanks to Daylight Time. Twilight at 8:30 and 9 feels so rich and makes life itself seem to last longer. I live pretty far south for an American, and I still go through withdrawal when it gets dark even a minute before 6:30, much less 4:30 (sorry, Chicago!).

But now I'm getting a bit concerned about this extra hour of daylight. It seems it's not about conservation or safety or any added value or virtue. (Want safety? Stay home!) This is really about the cash cows of those carrion-feeding Washington lobbyists, those cash-bagging buzzards getting their filthy upper hands all over our crooked and gullible government again. Those lobbyists would like to get every credit card in your wallet working overtime for their fat cats. They'd even rather keep you fat than happy.

This is government of the shopper, by the shopper, for the shopper.

And now we're telling Day and Night what to do to get us to go even further beyond our spending limits. We're even manipulating the Sun to accommodate our cravings, putting us on the prowl and putting the evening on steroids.

I'm thinking a little more darkness sounds downright soothing.


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