You can keep your daylight savings

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

The month of April is the most frustrating month of the year. Changeable weather and lots of rain certainly mark the month, but I tolerate nature’s vagaries well.

The deadline for filing taxes comes in the middle of the month, but not even that qualifies as a super downer.

Benjamin Franklin said that there are two things that are certain: death and taxes.

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I just consider taxes a toll for living until death comes for certain.

The thing that foils my happiness is Daylight Saving Time. Some people dive into the morning with enthusiasm. I slowly wade into the day and hit my stride in the evening.

So, when I have to get up at seven o’clock Daylight Savings Time, I think &uot;It is really six o’clock and I need to get another hour sleep.&uot;

When I force myself to go to bed at a time when I would much rather clean a closet or visit with friends, I think, &uot;I could have one more hour if it wasn’t for this blasted Daylight Savings Time.&uot;

I allow myself one week to grumble, then I quietly fight my inclinations and get on with my minimal adjustment to the time change.

I have one secret rebellion.

I do not set my car clock one hour forward.

When I drive, I am always on &uot;my&uot; time. It is a small thing, but it gives me comfort.

My other strategy for staying sane until October is to remember the benefits we supposedly get from leaping forward each April. The Department of Transportation estimated that 50 lives were saved and about 2,000 injuries were prevented in the years they conducted studies. The department also estimated that $28 million was saved in traffic accident costs. That makes me feel a little better.

Switching to Daylight Saving Time provides savings on fuel costs. The Department of Transportation says observing Daylight Savings Time saves the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day.

The fuel cost savings is a persuasive argument given the high cost of oil and gasoline these days.

But I wonder if all those folks who would be hunkered down in their houses burning electricity in the previously-dark evening hours are not now out on the road burning gasoline in their efforts to enjoy the extra daylight hours.

I am always searching for new information that would enhance my appreciation of Daylight Savings Time.

While looking over some material, I read in &uot;The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks,&uot; 1947 an excerpt that so closely expressed my opinion, I wish I had written it myself.

It says:

&uot;I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.&uot;

What a wise man and kindred soul!

But 50 more years of objections has not successfully staid the tide of Daylight Savings Time advocates. So I am still stuck with finding a way to cope.

I have considered more extreme solutions to my problem like moving to Hawaii or a part of Indiana that does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

But it hardly seems worth the effort to adjust to a new time zone when I know I would be frequently traveling back this way to visit family and friends in daylight-saving purgatory.

So, I am resigned to my yearly battle that begins the first Sunday in April, but I reserve the right to complain until October sets the world right again.

Beverly Outlaw lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. She can be reached