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First off, you’re welcome for reminding you that you need to push your clocks forward this Sunday. No need to thank me, I’m just a simple, slothful degenerate who occasionally does the Lord’s work. But on to the issue at hand: Florida has decided that time is whatever they want it to be.
On Tuesday, the Florida legislature passed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which purports to institute a statewide adoption of Daylight Savings Time all year long. I’m sure that the Florida legislators were all patting themselves on the back for thinking up a cutesy name for this completely meaningless law.
“Sunshine protection for the citizens of the sunshine state, so clever right?” they shouted to each other over the persistent chorus of boos coming from Stoneman Douglas High School students. “Thank God we solved the pressing issue of figuring out how to adjust our clocks.”
If you close your eyes and imagine real hard, you can almost see the infomercial. An elderly Florida snowbird, helplessly slamming her hands on the oven as she tries to figure out how to set the clock…oh no she accidentally put the convection oven on. There has to be a better way!
Alright, all kidding aside, let’s see what Florida’s actual reason was for spending time and taxpayer resources to solve this mild inconvenience… kids get confused by changing the clocks and have trouble adjusting their sleep schedules. That’s it, that’s the goddamn reason. Florida lawmakers would rather make sure kids aren’t cranky in the morning rather than protect them from mentally disturbed people that were reported to police repeatedly and are armed with an assault rifle.
In their attempt to not seem like complete dolts with no actual reason for this change, they’ve also claimed that this change is going to help tourism. Jesus guys, Inspector Gadget thinks that’s a stretch. I guess tourists will get an extra hour of sunlight to enjoy the luxurious beaches in winter. And who doesn’t want to soak up an extra hour of freezing water and a beach completely devoid of life other than some white dude with cornrows vaping? But maybe I’m a sarcastic asshole who doesn’t know what the common people want. Maybe there has been some massive desire to visit a wasteland that’s set one hour in the past for half the year. Basically, Florida appears to fancy itself to be the worst Westworld knock-off ever.
One interesting note is that Florida is actually not alone. 70 countries, including Japan and China, don’t observe Daylight Savings Time. In fact, two states, Hawaii and Florida have also adopted year-round DST. So then, why am I writing about something that most would otherwise be unaware of or care about?
Well, I am not most.
I am pissed.
I protest the implication that Daylight Savings Time is optional, not because I have some grand desire to make days have a certain amount of daylight in them, but because it just opens up a can of worms about the nature and relativity of time that I don’t think we want to see. Sure it’s just one state adopting DST now, but what’s to stop cities, towns, counties from taking the plunge on their own? Can you just imagine it? Leaving work in one town at five o’clock, drive five or ten minutes to the next town over, thinking that you can meet your boys for a happy hour. Then you get to the bar and realize that because some wannabe Leslie Knope made a stink about getting an extra hour of winter sun, you’re too early for drinks and your friends are still at work.
Time zones are bad enough, at least they are uniform. There’s a rhyme and reason to have noon be about the same time of day across the world, just so there is some level of consistency with our internal clock. But this is ridiculous. You can say call it’s light out until six o’clock all you want, the fact is that you’re a few miles of driving to Georgia where it will be a five o’clock sunset. It’s all arbitrary, and worst yet: why should these madmen stop there?
What’s to stop California or Kentucky from saying “screw the whole thing” and setting their clocks eleven hours behind the rest of ours? Or saying a day in Vermont is only 22 hours? Maybe the Montanans will get a wild hair up their ass and decide that leap years are dumb and just end up several days ahead of us?
The point is, without getting too Rust Cohle about it, time may be an illusory construct, but it needs to have consistency. Either we all need to jump on Daylight Savings Time or jump off, but we can’t do this piecemeal bullshit. Because we’re heading towards a slippery slope where you’ll end your flight from Atlanta to Boston with an announcement from the pilot saying “Welcome to Logan International Airport. The time is thirteen eighty-six in the mid-morning. It is a lovely Smarch day with temperatures in the mid-sixties. Please don’t forget to use your mapping calculators in adjusting your clocks, as New England is currently in the second unit of the year with their clocks based on cosine functions.” .