Friday, November 3, 2023

Andy Young: Celebrating the changing of the clocks, while we still can

By Andy Young

Did I miss something?

In March of last year, the United States Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a piece of legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent starting in 2023.

I thought that meant the end of the tiresome but necessary chore of resetting every clock in the continental United States (aside from those in Arizona) twice a year.

Democrats and Republicans alike touted the legislation, citing, among other things, the potential for increased economic activity and a likely reduction of seasonal depression cases as rationale for their action.


The House of Representatives still has yet to pass the bill before the president can sign it into law. And they haven’t. Which is surprising, given how efficient they’ve been lately.

But I digress. When life provides lemons, those of us with the correct attitude make lemonade. That’s why I’ve chosen to celebrate the fact that this coming weekend will consist of 49 hours, making it nearly 2.1 percent longer than 50 other weekends this year, and a full 4.2 percent longer than the weekend of next March 9-10. That’s when, barring Congress getting its act together, we’ll be setting the clocks ahead an hour to start Daylight Saving Time 2024.

What am I going to do with my extra 60 minutes this weekend? Well, while I’d like to try something exotic, one extra hour probably isn’t long enough to justify traveling too far from home to do so. For example, I probably won’t have time to check out the pyramids in Egypt, watch Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park, or run with the bulls in Pamplona. Or in Chicago, for that matter.

That’s okay because there are plenty of local options. If it’s warm enough I can take a bike ride. If it’s too chilly for that, I’ll indulge myself by walking, clad in my brightest blaze orange outfit, through some local nature preserve. I can take the kids apple-picking; nothing’s tastier than a crisp Macoun right off the tree. I can attend a Veterans Day ceremony, since the National Holiday commemorating those who sacrificed to allow us to live as we do falls on Saturday this year.

I can rake the leaves that have fallen over the past week, prune some trees, or cut back the dead vegetation that’s accumulating now that we’ve had our first frost(s) of the season. I can take the snow shovels out of mothballs or stow the lawn mower and the bikes away for the winter. Thanks to a couple of advances in technology that have occurred during my lifetime, I won’t have to change the storm windows or clean any wooden gutters, two now-obsolete chores that were necessary during my childhood.

And if there’s precipitation, I can catch up on correspondence, or log some quality time with one of the books I’ve been vowing to read one of these days when I have the opportunity. Which, for one additional hour this weekend, I will.

Inevitably some negative people will whine about the increasingly early afternoon darkness, the plunging temperatures, and the probable power failures that are likely to occur sometime in the coming five months, but I won’t. How can anyone complain when they’ve been gifted with not just a bonus hour, but a bonus weekend hour?

So what if I can’t be awed by the pyramids, see Old Faithful go off two or three times, or run with the Bulls in Chicago (or Pamplona)?

It’s a 49-hour weekend, and I fully expect to make lemonade.

Even if I have to use fresh-picked Macoun apples to do it.

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