Here’s the headache of daylight savings from my perspective: I was stationed in Berlin, Germany, for two years, and at an RAF base in the middle of a field near Lincoln, England, for another two years, and you wouldn’t think of either of those places as being in the great white north, or even any colder or snowier than, say, Saint Paul, Minnesota, but citizens of both are about six hundred miles closer to Santa Claus than the good people of Saint Paul. Everyone who said “No Way!” go ahead and google that, I’ll wait. And while you’re doing that I’ll just stick in here parenthetically that, even though Berlin doesn’t get much in the way of snow, it more than makes up for it in bone-chilling cold. I have rarely been as cold anywhere else in my life. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
Twice every year we, and by “we” I mean “those of us who aren’t as smart as the guys in Indiana and parts of Michigan who told the feds to go stuff their daylight savings,” have to go through this national convulsion where we set our clocks forward in the spring, then gripe about it for at least a week, then set the clocks back in the fall, then gripe about it again for at least a week. The griping is starting to annoy me almost as much as changing the clock. There’s a guy on afternoon talk radio who devotes a whole hour every time the clocks change to not only griping about it, but inviting listeners to call in a gripe about it, too. My take on that is, if you aren’t going to gripe to somebody who can actually change the law, then shut up and color.
I arrived in Berlin in February, when the days were already getting longer, although I had no freaking idea how much longer they were going to get. There comes a fine summer day when you wake up at five o’clock in the morning to full daylight. Not dawn. I’m talking about the kind of bright sunshine that comes blazing through the kitchen window of a television advertisement for Windex. If you’re anything like normal, it’ll make you glance at the clock to make sure you read it right, then look out the window again, frowning. Or, if you were like I was then, a young airman chronically unable to get to work on time anyway, you did like I did and shit your shorts believing you had slept until lunchtime and would be facing administrative punishment instead of a mild ass-chewing.
The change to bright, sunshiny mornings is gradual, but for some reason you don’t realize it. All at once, it seems, the sun’s up at five o’clock, and stays up until about nine in the evening. Talk about messing up your mind-clock. Daylight savings still makes me grumpy, but with that kind of weirdness in my past, I don’t let it get to me.