Saturday, March 9, 2019

Still Life with Robin: As Long As We Keep Springin’ Along

Photo by Joe Haupt via Wikimedia Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

I opened the print version of the Washington Post this morning and was pleased to read the case against Daylight Saving Time spelled out in clear and cogent language:
"Daylight Saving Time Is Obsolete, Confusing, and Unhealthy" (  

But seeing this logical conclusion drawn in black-and-white on the page will not help us now; nothing can save us from the waste of our time on Sunday as we go running around the house, resetting clocks and springing our watches forward. And that’s all on top of the hour we lose as we jump from 2am to 3am in the dead of a winter's night.

Every year I wish for Congress to save us from this temporal throwback to the attitudes and efficiency notions formed around the time of our entry into the first World War. But every year, even as more and more scientists, economists, dogwalkers, farmers, and parents of young children add more fuel to the fight against DST, I realize, yet again to my dismay, this won’t be the year for reform.

So we turn our attention to the practical problem of figuring out how to implement the change in all our clocks, watches and other time-keeping devices. Our phones and computer clocks will take care of themselves, it’s true, but that still leaves most of us with a scattered collection of digital watches, clock-radios, appliance clocks, car clocks, and timers that control on-off cycles of things like sprinklers and water softeners. (See to find out what, if anything, you may have missed.) Are you one of those keepers of an ancient technology, like a VCR with a clock? And does it still keep time? Or have you surrendered to its mysteries and will just let it blink 12:00 until the end of time?

Do you save the instruction manuals for each timekeeping device and haul out a folder of them, to match up each clock up with its own set of directions? Or do you wing it, relying on a kinda-sorta-guess-it-works-this-way knowledge of what to do in what order, aided by a little trial and error, for every device you own? Or do you just let the complicated ones alone and then mentally add an hour until you reach that point in the fall when the displayed time will be correct again?

I’ve gone with all three strategies. They’re all dissatisfying in their own annoying ways.

Here’s another one that you might find worth trying. Ask Google. For any digital watch or clock you know longer recall how to reset, go to Google and type in the question: For example, “How to reset Armitron Pro-Sport MD0699 digital watch?” Google will helpfully point you to the link to the online version of the paper manual that came with that watch. With certain appliances that have a digital clock, you may be lucky enough to discover a YouYube video that gives you a visual tour of the process. I hope this tip will help to make your Sunday time-change a bit less frustrating.

And I will be back on November 3, 2019 to walk through this process in reverse. That is, unless Congress acts and rescues us all from the twice-a-year Great Clock Switcheroo! But don’t hold your breath!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

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