The end of daylight saving time brings gloom

November 13, 2012

We are creatures of the sun, the smiles of the warmth and the laughter of light. You don’t have to look to flowery poetry and descriptive prose to realize this; just notice the lines outside the plastic surgeons’ offices, let alone your face, which is starting to resemble a reptilian life form.

That’s why the end of daylight saving time is so devastating to most people. Setting the clock back an hour so the sky gets dark an hour earlier elevates the darkness to the level of a Norman Bates Motel movie. Taking away just the tiniest amount from our addiction to the light can cause people to go stark raving mad, and that’s just in the state of Iowa, which is considered very normal by corn standards.

I know it doesn’t affect everyone, but for those of us who might be considered legally blind by three in the afternoon, it’s a huge adjustment. Even without the early evening nightfall, I basically can’t tell the difference between a horse on fire galloping away in the distance and an open-all-night liquor sign that rotates and says free check cashing.

My peripheral vision is so bad that in the past I have phoned 911 to report a barn burning that was quickly spreading across the beltway when in fact it has been just a woman with red hair in her car passing me in the right lane. By then, of course, traffic had been rerouted across several bridges, and the National Guard had been put on alert for possible rescues. Schools had been closed, and many towns had emptied out to the screams of, “Run for your lives!”

So you can see, even on a good day, things can turn sour. Between cataracts, night blindness, nearsightedness, farsightedness, strabismus, lazy eye and crossed eyes, it’s no wonder my eyes are so bloodshot that most people think I have been on a three-day bender.

But when the end of daylight saving time rolls around, I go into a different mode. Knowing I have all these visual problems that will be heightened by the early darkness, I pretty much just grab things to feel my way around. I hate to burden other people with my problems.

Like sometimes at work, I just follow shadows of things, assuming they are people, and joke and slap them on the back. Sure, it’s embarrassing when you find out you’ve been talking to the refrigerator in the break room for half an hour about your personal life and discussing the result of Sunday night football with the copy machine out in the hall. But for some reason, where I work, people don’t find this odd. There is nothing like a truly caring workforce, unless you ask the sign that says out of order outside the rest room out on a date, and then people tend to shy away and avoid asking you to the next birthday party.

I also tend to leave work early when it gets dark this soon. OK, I can use this excuse. But this is easy for me; I can then just follow shadows of things out to the parking lot. One time I found myself in the middle of a whole herd of sheep that had escaped from a truck. Silly me, I thought someone said we were posing for a group photo out in the parking lot, so I stood around smiling for a couple of hours until someone noticed.

Anyway, the point is that this early darkness is depressing and difficult for most people to maneuver through, so for obvious selfish reasons, I’m all for getting rid of DST. Hey, I’ve already started speaking Swedish and eating lots of Kukenfluel.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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