Celebrate the return of daylight saving time

March 9, 2013

I look forward to this time of the year every beginning of the spring season.  It’s circled on my calendar with a pair of eyeglasses drawn on a stick figure. After a long, cold, dark winter, the second Sunday in March is designated as the start of daylight saving time. That means the clocks are set an hour ahead. Fortunately, most houses of worship and shops make allowances for the inability of the average American to understand that the reason the parking lot is empty is because whatever event they were planning to attend ended an hour ago. That includes their own weddings and funerals.

For me, it’s like having cataract surgery. I no longer have to grope my way out to my car after work in a murky sea of darkness.

OK, that happened once. But like I always tell everyone who catches me, I mean who sees me leaving early, it really is just for the consideration and safety of others. It’s understandable to spend considerable time talking in the parking lot with your colleagues about plans for the evening only to find out you are addressing a massive shrub of evergreen bushes growing near the front of the building.  

When the sky gets dark, I go into what is called night blindness, with little peripheral vision to rely upon. That means when I am driving, I often have problems knowing the difference between a red-haired person lying in the middle of the road and an orange cone tipped over.

Many times I’ve stopped and administered CPR, after I’ve called 9-1-1, only to be chastised by fire department members who are rolling around, holding their sides while they fill out their report. The color red or orange is a real problem.

I once mistook a set of brake lights in front of me for a horse on fire galloping straight toward my car, when in fact it should have been in the field next to the highway. No one was amused by my effort to reroute traffic. I did have the best of intentions.

But it’s not just driving that is problematic for many folks during the night hours when the sun sets so early. It can be a social problem as well. I’ve gone to gatherings where people are sort of just spaces of black protoplasm, much like the movie, “The Blob,” where they move and slither around. I always throw in words that connect to a discussion on climate change, the rain forests, global warming and nuclear disarmament, just in case I don’t know who I am talking to, which happens a lot.

That’s when I find out that I am actually sitting on a panel. I don’t know how I could have mistaken the seat up front on the stage for one down in the audience. This is a panel of experts with Secret Service milling around. It’s only after I’ve been called upon for a presentation that I quietly excuse myself and stagger off to the exit doors.

Sometimes the early darkness can work to your advantage, though.

By the end of the day, no one is able to see that mascara smeared under my eyes, almost like a Lady Macbeth impersonation. I don’t know how those models end up looking like they just left a spa by the early evening; well, they probably just did leave a spa.

In any case, I will be thrilled to see daylight stretch itself out just a little longer. But then, I guess it will be darker when I have to get up in the morning. Or maybe not. Heck, no wonder Congress recesses and gets out of town.

They probably can’t figure out whether they are coming or going.

  • 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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