It’s about time?


For many years, Indiana did not observe Daylight Savings Time. About six years ago, the state legislature finally approved moving to DST. People still complain about it.

When I was a kid, my dad use to tell me that we didn’t observe Savings Time because the farmers claimed that it messed up the cows, throwing off their milking schedules. I didn’t understand what was so different about Hoosier cows. Nor, did I question why it was such a big deal as Indiana is not one of the large milk-producing states.

Indiana is still an agricultural state and the agricultural lobbies do hold a lot of power. In the end though, the argument in favor of DST was to help draw business to Indiana. While some people would remark about how backwards Indiana was in not observing DST, I don’t know if it actually dissuaded anybody from establishing a business here. From personal experience, I know that it was a pain in the ticktock to have to deal with people in other time zones when the rest of the country would “spring forward”. Half the year I would tell people that we were the same time as New York; the other half of the year we were the same time as Chicago. There was always some smart-ass who would want to correct someone if you sent out a memo stating a timezone. Mark something as EST, and one might complain that it was EDT. “No!” someone else would chime in, “It’s CDT”. The correct answer was always EST, but when the rest of the Eastern time zone was one hour different, you couldn’t convince some people that EST was correct.

Now that the US observes Savings time earlier in March and extends it until late October, I only really pay attention to the differences in the weeks surrounding the time changes. It was beginning to get light just before 7 am and I had been enjoying the earlier sunrises before we reset the clocks. But, since the time change, not having daylight until nearly 8 am makes the morning seem much gloomier. I know that it will only be for a few weeks, but I miss the sunlight in the morning. I don’t begrudge it, though, in the afternoons, except when the late afternoon sun hits my kitchen window, beaming light into my eyes as I’m trying to prepare dinner. That, too, will only last a few more weeks. Soon we will have more than 12 hours of daylight and I will slowly stop noticing sunrise as it will happen before the alarm clock rings.

The thing is, though, it strikes me that the question never should have been whether or not we observe Daylight Savings Time, but what time zone we should be in. When I am on the East Coast, I realize how much earlier dawn and dusk are. The same is true when I am in Chicago. Central Indiana, in my opinion, should really be in the Central Time Zone.

Yesterday, when I was photographing a friend’s garden, I took a glance at a sundial. The sundial is situated where it looks good in the landscape, so it isn’t perfectly placed for telling time. But, it is close enough. Or is it? I think it’s proof of my Central Time Zone stance. This picture was taken shortly before 3pm — Eastern Daylight Time.

It's one o'clock somewhere -- but not here!

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8 responses to “It’s about time?

  1. Haha! It’s always 5’o clock somewhere, too! 🙂 Cheers!!

  2. I wish we could dispense with it altogether; it seems an archaic response to nature and, ironically, a very modern one: everything depends on the “work day.” I think the arguments about saving energy are false…I love this and the sundial that reminds us time and money will never drive the sun’s energy. 🙂

    • I’ve never understood the rational for saving energy, especially in such an energy-consuming country like the US. I know that it does give friends with lawns more time to mow them. But I hate hearing the lawn mowers and leaf blowers until 8:30 at night!

  3. Interesting observations. Love the photo of the sundial. Time time time. Here in Ohio a large number of us complain about DST. It seems to be irrelevant in this time of technological advancement. I like your dad’s explanation. Growing up on the farm – we milked holstein cows my dad always said that DST allows for farmers to spend more time in the fields. That never made sense to me either.

    I think time is just one of those things politicians love to play with. One more thing they can find to justify doing what they want. The latest argument I heard was that DST will help us save energy because people will be turning their lights on later in the evening. But again logic defies this because they don’t seem to consider that people will also be turning their lights on earlier in the morning while it’s still dark. Oh well…… what cha gonna do. 🙂

    • You probably wouldn’t have liked that he sometimes said “stupid farmers” made this claim. As a young child I took this to mean that all farmers were stupid. In my Dad’s defense, though, he corrected that assumption when I was a teen. Although he grew up in Chicago, his father, who ran a food brokerage business, made my dad work on farms in the summer (in Indiana) harvesting tomatoes for a ketchup-making company. He knew that farming was hard, back-breaking work that requires a lot of knowledge, planning and thought, not just physical work.

      As for the politicians, once the State decided to use DST, several counties in northern Indiana applied separately to Dept of Transportation to petition to not follow or to switch time zones. It’s now a patchwork of different times. As you travel East to West you can go in & out of the Eastern time zone a couple of times before you reach the Illinois border. Doesn’t affect me much but it is crazy and was a political compromise between the governor and upstate politicians.

  4. I didn’t know that different states had different laws about DST. Here in the UK it’s national. There’s talk of us going over to European time, but so far that hasn’t happened.
    I like the photo. Reminds us that the time we use is artificial. The sun carries on doing its own thing.

    • At my last job, I frequently had to schedule calls with people in New York, Paris, and London. 4 different time zones before Indiana adopted DST. During the period when all were not on Savings Time, it was not easy! The Brits came in early, the New Yorkers late, the French took two hour lunches. During Mar & Apr it seemed like there usually was only about 45 minutes to have a call!

      I think only two other states don’t observe DST — Arizona and Alaska. DST really doesn’t make sense when you have days that are all light or all darkness!