What is it with so-called daylight saving time?
Of course it doesn't save daylight; it redistributes it.
This sounds socialistic. And it means a later sunrise and more dark in the morning.
During standard time in the late fall and bleak midwinter in North Dakota, Mother Nature provides dark well into the morning, so that it's hard to get up and get going.
During spring, summer and early fall, DST delays sunrise an hour, so that bright and early isn't really early; it's just bright. And during the summer, it doesn't get dark until well after kids' bedtimes.
It used to be six months one way, six months the other, a handy reminder of a good time to change your smoke alarm batteries. Now it's four months standard, eight months daylight time.
We need to rethink the whole concept.
It's true something had to be done about the mess we had before daylight time was nationally standardized in 1966. I remember the confusion that prevailed in the Twin Cities in the early 1960s when daylight time was hit or miss:
The Cities were on daylight, the University of Minnesota on standard, or vice versa. The trains were on standard, the airlines on daylight, or vice versa. TV was daylight, or was it standard. And radio, TV and the papers had to mention daylight or standard behind any announced times for upcoming events.
I think maybe even St. Paul and Minneapolis were different, with people boarding a bus in one city on standard and getting off in the other city on daylight, and vice versa.
OK, the last one might be an exaggeration or a faulty memory, but it was a mess. When you were arranging, coordinating or planning anything, or just having a conversation, you had to invariably factor in "daylight or standard?"
So something was done. And it has been tweaked a few times over the years, resulting in the current 8 month DST system.
In 1973 we tried DST year-round. But it proved hazardous for school kids in the winter. In northern states, a number were hit by cars as they crossed streets or waited for buses in the morning dark. So we dropped the year-round idea.
Messing with time has always been hard to adapt to. A major change was effected in 1883 when, as described by Howard Mansfield, "railroads took it upon themselves to divide the country into four time zones, with one standard time within each zone." This was to end the confusion of each depot having a different time, set according to its own solar noon.
Prior to this, when it was noon in Chicago, it was 11:50 a.m. in St Louis and 12:18 p.m. in Detroit. Many stations had two clocks, one for railroad time, one for local time.
After the 1883 standardization, cities eventually came in line with "railroad time," but not without resistance. In a referendum a year later, for example, Bangor, Maine voted three to one against the 25-minute change to "Philadelphia time," Mansfield informs us.
Such opposition was nothing compared the peoples' uproar when a really major messing with time was imposed upon them in 1752. The change wasn't minutes or even hours. It was days. Eleven of them disappeared. The day after Sept.2 became Sept.14.
This led to considerable confusion and arguing and discoursing about where the 11 lost days went, including some birthdays and anniversaries for that year.
For an hilarious fictional account of this actual lost-days hubbub, see Thomas Pynchon's novel, "Mason & Dixon."
But I digress. Back to daylight saving time. If we can't abolish it, we could at least change its name. We could call it what it actually is: Morning Darkening Time, or Sunrise Delaying Time.
(Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily?News)