KNOX – What would happen if we were all in different time zones?


WE LOST an hour’s sleep last Sunday. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Must have been with the missing socks from the dryer, the spare car keys or any proof that Obama tapped the phones at Trump Tower.

Still can’t get used to the clocks changing so early, on the second Sunday in March. It has been a full decade since they made the change, extending daylight time by four weeks a year, but it seems like yesterday. Or yesterday minus one hour.

The rationale for extending daylight time was that it would save energy, but I don’t know about that. Me, I just end up doing the zombie shuffle, looking like Ben Carson after half a bottle of cough syrup. No energy at all.

And why change the clocks at 2 a.m. as Saturday slides into Sunday? If we are going to lose an hour, at least make it worth our while and do it in the middle of a work day so that we can go home early. (At the bare minimum, they could have delayed daylight time by a week so that it coincided with spring break; good luck to all the parents trying to crowbar their kids out of bed tomorrow.)

This kind of moaning has been going on since we were introduced to daylight time a century ago. Many credit (or blame) Britain’s William Willett, who in 1907 published a pamphlet titled The Waste of Daylight. (Willett is known not only as the father of daylight time but the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin, who sang the song Clocks, which seems appropriate.) The clock-shifting idea took off during the First World War when Germany adopted Sommerzeit as an energy-saving measure, prompting the other side, including Canada, to follow suit.

Proponents like daylight time because it means extra daylight after the 9-to-5 workday, allowing us to spend summer evenings golfing or fishing or, according to certain family members, mowing the lawn.

Opponents cite statistics linking the constant clock-shifting to heart attacks and car crashes. Electronic timers don’t always move in sync. Farmers grumble that their livestock don’t know the time has changed (note to self: wristwatches for chickens). Drive-in movie operators always hated the late sunsets.

Every once in a while, some bleary-eyed politician will make noises about dropping daylight time, but the idea never goes anywhere. In February, Utah lawmakers rejected a colleague’s proposal to put the question on a ballot. Likewise, there was little sign of support when a Washington state senator tried to ditch daylight time last month.

Right now, Edmonton MLA Thomas Dang is pushing a private member’s bill that would end the time change in Alberta. His effort includes an online survey that asks Albertans if they would rather have an extra hour of light in the morning or at night. That would determine whether the province adopted daylight time year round or stayed on Redneck Standard Time (I think that’s what it’s called). That might be a Dang fine idea, but it still seems doomed.

Maybe that’s just as well. It would be chaos if every jurisdiction acted independently. (Note that already some parts of B.C., mostly the bits that pay taxes to Victoria but make googly eyes at Alberta, don’t change their clocks with the rest of us.)

Can you imagine what it would be like if every municipality here in Dysfunction-By-The-Sea got to choose its own time zone (the way they do with speed limits, pot-shop rules, snow removal, bike lanes …)?

Metchosin, Central Saanich and North Saanich would ditch daylight time because of the farmers. Sidney would adopt Greenwich mean time because of the airport. Saanich would wait until everybody else had begun changing their clocks, then suggest an alternative.

Victoria would keep daylight time but postpone implementing it until April 5, then July 13, then September, then hopefully the end of 2017. Esquimalt would complain about being forced to share a time zone with Victoria. Langford, View Royal and Colwood would declare their own zone, but not be sure whether to call it Westshore Time or West Shore Time. Oak Bay would vote to keep the calendar frozen at 1952.

This is not as far-fetched as you think. For a two-week period in 1965, conflicting political decisions left the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul an hour apart. Not sure that’s what Minnesota native Bob Dylan had in mind when he wrote The Times They Are a-Changin’.

© Copyright Times Colonist

About Mel Rothenburger (5775 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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