The last couple of days before the “end” of Daylight Savings Time (DST) always creeps me out. It almost seems like it gets noticeably darker in the mornings. I mean like radically so. I know it’s (mostly) in my head. It doesn’t help that I’ve been having to get up earlier of late in order to commute to work.
And the crazy thing is, it’s not the lack of light, or the change or any of that that impresses upon me so deeply. It’s the edge. That fringe feeling that underlies the whole “arbitrariness” of the clock. The feeling, if you will, that the seasons and the cycles are ALIVE, and that mankind simply skitters around on the edges trying to impose control.
I know what you’re thinking. I swore off reading THOSE books ages ago. *ftaghn*
Some people even set their clocks back or forward in order to control their ingrained tendencies. More internal programming through external stimuli. More bargaining. More control. No, I mean in a much less arcane but equally profound sense. That boundary between the stuff we control as a culture, and the undeniable steamroller that is the natural/physical world. You feel it when the leaves change, or when winter finally blows in. This year, we’ve felt it with unprecedented and unrelenting regularity in hurricane season. Every time the ground shakes, or belches up fire, or washes out from under us.
…And I feel it every time we pull back the curtain to reveal our trickery: twice a year, when we tease the sun to come out a bit earlier or set a moment later.
Some places don’t do it, of course. They leave this aspect of nature alone, preferring (perhaps) to adhere to a strict “I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me” policy. Or whatever. Certainly, they worry less about screwing around with clocks. And that’s not an inconsiderable thing! All that clock synchronization; the oversleeping; the constant reminders; the secondary markets in “self-setting” alarm clocks; time synch signals on PBS broadcasts… It’s a business in itself. One wonders at the number of man-hours dedicated to the task. Is it really worth it?
And are we simply fooling ourselves? Is this equivalent to that “morning math” we do when bargaining for more sleep time? You know, that “OK, that clock is really two minutes fast, so I can sleep for one more minute”, or “that bus is always late” kind of logic. Some people even set their clocks back or forward in order to affect their ingrained behavioral tendencies. More internal programming through external stimuli. More bargaining. More control.
All lies. We are powerless in the face of the natural order. (*Ahem* Global warming notwithstanding.)
So anyway… that’s how I feel about that. Can’t shake it. Just gotta deal, and hope that the cycle always behaves in a predictable manner. And as the days count down to the inevitable Sunday night, when I’ll forget to reset every clock (except for the smart ones that reset themselves), a cold feeling will creep down my spine. Like an ant that realizes it’s been walking on the skin of an elephant that suddenly, and inexorably, wanders into a pond for it’s bath. And there is nothing you can do about it…