Post Script: Thinking about DST


by Frances Edstrom, columnist

What if Daylight Savings Time weren’t a man-made mandate, but a natural phenomenon or divinely ordained?

Every fall, on the appointed date, which might not be a convenient one, we would turn back our lives and be allowed to relive one hour from the past. And each spring, we would be allowed to give back one hour of our lives as if it had never happened.

How would that change humanity, or would it not change at all?

Would we feel less guilt when we misbehave, or do dirt to another person, because we figure we could give it back in the spring? What if we have a history of badness, how would we choose which hour to give back, which person’s hurt to atone for? That would be hard.

What would be harder would be to choose which hour to relive. Would we relive the hour when a child was born? That would certainly remind us of why we should love that person who has turned out to be an impossible teenager, or a drug addict living in the basement, or isn’t speaking to us for some unknown reason. Or we could relive our first kiss with the person we ended up marrying. Just think, if our marriages are getting stale, if we are “growing apart,” if we are abusing the person we are supposed to love, how reliving that moment of love awakening between us would remind us of why we made our commitment.

If we are lonely, we could relive a moment in our lives when we were happiest. Widows could have an hour a year with their departed loved ones. Children could relive happy times with their parents who have passed away, or who are locked away in a shell of dementia.

Would some of us be wracked with indecision as to which hour to choose and miss the opportunity altogether? Or might we choose badly, and not find happiness at all.

After all, our memories are not beholden to fact. Even the passage of an hour, or a couple days can color the memory of our experiences. We have all had it happen to us that other people who were with us at a particular time and place remember the experience much differently from how we do. “No, no, that’s not how it happened …”

Would it be worth the risk of such abject disappointment, if we only got the reliving of an hour right once a decade, or even once a lifetime?

Perhaps I shouldn’t hope that Daylight Savings were different from what it is. Perhaps I should stick to wishing it didn’t happen at all.


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