Setting clocks ahead just in time to save my sanity

March 1, 2020

Now we’re talking! This date is circled on my calendar; to the side is a pair of eyeglasses drawn on a pale, pathetic stick figure. I look forward to this date more than my own birthday. Since I always lie about my age, I have no idea when that birthday is anyway.

After a long, 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. And that is just around the corner. Yes, the Allies have landed!

For me, daylight saving time is like having cataract surgery. I no longer have to grope my way out to my car at the end of the day in a murky sea of darkness. Not that I have any life or plans to go home to, but it helps to stumble along in the right direction.

I don’t have to leave in the dim afternoon wearing my coat inside out, shoes on the wrong feet and carrying on a conversation with the umbrella stand. Sure, it will be dark in the morning when I leave home, but it’s a small sacrifice to be seen with my bra on the outside of my shirt.

I’m sick of spending considerable time laughing it up in the parking lot with colleagues about events for the evening only to find out I’ve been addressing a massive row of pine trees growing near the front of the building. Clarity is everything.

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 on its side. Many times, I’ve stopped and administered CPR, after I’ve called 911, only to be humiliated by the fire department members who are rolling around, holding their sides and wetting their pants while they fill out their report.

My eyeglasses are no help; they simply make me look like Groucho Marx. They accent my head, which looks like a bulbous onion plant stuffed between my shoulders. I often have shoppers try to rip it out. And somehow spectacles never seem as glamorous on me as on those models wearing fashion eyewear in the 300-pound issues of Vogue Magazine. The glasses the models are wearing look like fun, like they have their own life and go to parties until the break of dawn.

But it’s not just driving that is problematic for many folks 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, where they move and slither around. I always throw in words that connect to discussions like climate change, the rain forest, global warming and nuclear disarmament, just in case I don’t know who I am talking to, which usually happens to be my husband. It’s important to appear as if I can identify people, which is why I rarely participate in police lineups.

Sometimes the early darkness can work to your advantage, though. By the end of the day, no one is able to see that it takes me 58 layers of undereye concealer and 100 pounds of foundation so as not to scare the living daylights out of infants.

In any case, I will be thrilled to see daylight stretch its legs out just a little longer. Heck, no wonder Congress recesses and gets out of town. They probably can’t figure out whether they are coming or going. Remember, though, the month of March always has the phrase, “The Ides of March.” With daylight saving time, at least I’ll be able to read it.

  • 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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