Mielke: Reflections on the pros and cons of Daylight Savings Time

It’s a glorious morning here in central Alberta with the temperature hovering respectably just below the minus mark.

Spring has arrived. Well, almost arrived.

What has arrived with no ands, buts or ifs, is Daylight Savings Time.

It’s weird how the time change affects each and everyone of us.

It’s not that we don’t know it’s coming. For weeks before the change takes place, the topic is the subject of many conversations around the kitchen table, even while our clocks stay exactly the same, ticking us ominously towards the big day.

I’m thinking the scales weigh heavily towards not having a time change, just leaving well enough alone, and if the clock isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

But, other than picking up stakes and moving to Saskatchewan or some other anti time change province, Albertans have found they don’t seem to have a choice in the matter.

It is what it is, so deal with it, people! That’s what we are being told, anyway.

As for myself, I’m not really a fan of the switch to daylight savings time or the switch to the other time zone that we live with throughout the deep, dark days of winter.

But I am a fan of Daylight Savings Time.

I love the way the day stretches on seamlessly, finally giving way to the soft darkness of night at another time, (an hour later to be exact). It leaves one with the illusion there is still time to accomplish great and wonderful things or even just get the dishes done while it is still daylight.

There are other bonuses to the time change.

It happens every year like clockwork and the media jumps all over it like white on rice.

It’s not like it’s a big surprise.

Who could miss it?

Gulp! I can!

And, as I learned yesterday the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree!

One of my girls and her husband had agreed to come for supper.

I had a lovely meal prepared. My husband bought me this Instapot thing for Christmas. It is like a modern version of a pressure cooker and once I got over being scared of it because it steamed and hissed and tried to intimidate me with all its hissing and steaming, I learned to quite like it.

“She’ll never use it,” my husband told our daughters when they had suggested it as a gift.

He really shouldn’t have said that.

I use it a lot. Just to make a point.

Anyway, I had the timing perfect with this Instapot thing. Seven minutes of pressure to cook the chicken. The salad was ready, the broccoli not yet soggy. They should be here any minute. I set the time on the Instapot just as the phone rang.

“We’re just leaving,” my daughter said. “We forgot to set our clocks.”

“She is so much like me,” I think, allowing a small smile to play at the corner of my lips. “I love that girl.”

Years ago I was taking a course on time management around the time Alberta was switching over to Daylight Savings Time.

I was so smug because I had this time management thing wrapped up.

It was a beautiful day in March with the promise of spring written in the air and the sun and the brilliant blue sky. I rounded up my three children for church, vowing not be late because I, after all, was a time manager, extraordinaire.

Wearing my pride and my Sunday best I marched my children into a pew near the front.

Everyone smiled at us a lot, in fact it seemed like they couldn’t get over smiling at us. How friendly the people in this church are, I thought to myself.

And so I smiled back.

I settled down in the pew to listen to the sermon. Needless to say I was somewhat shocked when the first words out of the minister’s mouth were, “go in peace.”

Apparently we were exactly an hour late. Daylight Savings Time will do that to you!

I slunk down in my seat, totally mortified, sneaking glances at my children, who looked back at me silently, no doubt, wondering when, if ever, their mother would have it all together.

As I was saying, Daylight Savings does have some wonderful attributes and, perhaps, not the least of these is the chance to laugh at ourselves, remain humble and know that regardless of what time zone we are in, time marches on.

And we need to remember to enjoy the moment even if we’re not exactly sure what time zone that moment is in.

And we need to laugh!

Especially, at ourselves!

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