A high cost for an hour’s sleep

By Dennis Minich

Early Sunday morning is that bright moment in everyone’s year, the minute time falls back and 2 a.m. becomes 1 a.m. and everyone working the graveyard shift finds another hour of work yet to be completed. In my younger days, the end of daylight-saving time could be something to relish because the bars open until three were actually open for an hour longer, as if I really needed another hour of adult beverages on a typical Saturday night.

Daylight Saving Time is one of those concepts which always seems to defy logic. Logically, moving the clocks ahead or back doesn’t really seem to make that much of a difference, but someone, somewhere, probably working for the government, came up with this idea, supposedly to save energy. But I think it was more likely an attempt to look important by coming up with some hair-brained concept, just to see if you could get people to do it. If you lather enough nonsense on some meaningless statistics, anything is possible. I know I dislike when DST starts. I hate mornings in the first place, then moving everything up an hour makes me nearly comatose.

From a sleep standpoint, I prefer falling back in the fall. That extra hour is nice, for about two days.

Then the newness wears off and it’s the same old stuff again. That is not true for my dog, Rocky. Rocky’s life has a very simple order to it and as long as the humans obey, he is one happy dog. Alter it and he can get cranky. For example, there are certain feats during the day in which Rocky is treated with a dog biscuit, pepperoni or some other edible delight. Some of those feats are coming in from outside (we’ve never actually negotiated the maximum number of eligible trips), me leaving, me coming home, him riding in the car, him accompanying me to the bank or the pharmacy, me having a snack, me walking by the snack box, any other animal receiving a snack, going to the office or Rocky making it known he wants a snack. Non-adherence to these rules is not acceptable.

Another of Rocky’s laws is dinner time. While we can sometimes fudge breakfast for an hour or two, dinner is to be served at 6 p.m. Sharp. There is no excuse for missing this most definitive of deadlines. However, when the time falls back, 6 p.m. becomes 5 p.m. and I don’t know if you have ever attempted to explain to a dog why daylight-saving time changes his actual eating time rather than his stomach schedule, but let’s just say they fail to grasp the intricacies of the concept. When his stomach says its 6 p.m. he really doesn’t care if our clock says 5, 7, 11 or 9:32, he wants his food. So, for the first week or longer of each fall’s return to standard time requires an avoiding for an hour each night that woeful look that dogs use to guilt us.

Rocky is really not the only one bugged by the change. Sunday night I was driving home from the Halloween festivities in Adrian. Darkness had set in and I looked at my clock and realized it was only 6:30. That fact took on a cruel soul crushing realization. Next week we would have that same darkness at 5:30.

That one extra hour was once a treasure. Now, about the most I can hope for is that one extra hour of sleep. But for that I have to deal with workdays ending after the sun goes down and an inconsolably-hungry dog. I do, however, find some comfort in the words of Dr. Seuss: “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?”