Not-so-standard Time

This weekend brought an end to Daylight Saving Time (DST) and a return to Standard Time, giving us an extra hour of sleep and providing the commentariat an opportunity to argue for and against its continuation. We were surprised to learn that we were clinging to a few myths about DST. For example, we had long thought that DST was implemented so farmers could extend the time they worked in the field. In fact, resistance from farmers is the reason we didn’t have a peacetime DST until 1966. That lost hour of morning light actually means that farmers have to rush to get their crops to market and their cows have trouble adjusting to a change in milking time.

DST was first proposed by William Willett to the British Parliament in 1907 as a way to take full advantage of the day’s light. Germany was the first country to implement it, and the United States took up the practice upon entering World War I, hypothetically to save energy. But conserving energy is another myth.

A little more natural daylight results in only a tiny advantage at best, according to some studies. One study actually found a slight increase in energy use, thanks to increased use of air-conditioning in the evening. So the overall effect on the economy is neutral.

Which leads to another myth: DST is good for business. In truth, it’s only good for some businesses, which is why every time it’s brought up for consideration by Congress, industries like grill manufacturers and charcoal producers and convenience stories lobby for increasing DST. The airline industry, on the other hand, takes a multimillion hit every time schedules have to be juggled to keep U.S. flights aligned with international travel.

Currently, DST is observed eight months out of the year, so Standard Time is only the standard for one-third of the year. Not very standard, if you ask us.

As people who enjoy weekend campouts, we support making DST the new Standard Time year-round. That would optimize the amount of daylight we would have available to arrive at our weekend destination and set up our site. It’s selfish, we know, but it’s just as good a reason as any other we’ve heard.

One other thing of note from this weekend: We binged on three episodes of The Morning Show, not because we had intended to do so but because we couldn’t stop watching. We absolutely love this show! Every character is complex, every storyline is unpredictable, every episode is gripping. Jon summed it up in one word: cinematic. Our little binge took us late into Sunday night, but the resultant lack of sleep was worth it. We’ll had back home today and then take a weekend off as our tow vehicle goes to the dealership for a recall (it will likely be there for the next 10 days, given the backlog). Then, we’ll have one more weekender before heading to Illinois for Thanksgiving with Jon’s family.