March 11, 2012

Clocks spring ahead

At 2 o’clock this morning, our clocks moved from standard time to daylight-saving time, and as a result, many of us got a little less sleep.

Or maybe we showed up to church an hour late.

A friend once told me a story about a particularly memorable transition to daylight-saving time. He was working nights, and he decided when he got home to go ahead and change all the clocks before heading off to bed. His wife got up the next morning, not realizing he had done that, and changed all the clocks again.

They were greeted at church that morning by an empty parking lot. Church wouldn’t start for another hour.

My friend and his wife vowed to do a better job of communicating in future years.

I’ve never been a fan of daylight-saving time. I’ve always felt that if people wanted to get up an hour earlier in the spring and summer, they should just do that. Why do they need to force that change on the rest of us?

I know lots of folks made fun of Indiana back in the days when we were one of the few states that didn’t change our clocks in the spring and fall. Friends and relatives in other parts of the country were never quite sure what time it was in the Hoosier state.

Frankly, though, that never bothered me all that much. I always felt that Indiana had it right, and everybody else had it wrong.

I kind of enjoyed the opportunity in the spring and summer to watch the prime time shows an hour early and catch the late-night talk shows without depriving myself of an hour of sleep.

And the fact is that Indiana really belongs geographically in the Central time zone. If we just drew a straight line, Eastern time would end somewhere east of the Ohio border.

What that means is that the sun will tell us it’s 7 o’clock in the morning even if the clock insists that it’s 8.

And so, when the kids head off to school Monday morning, they’ll again be starting the day in the dark. Personally, I don’t much like getting up before daylight to go to work, and I’m guessing kids aren’t all that excited about it either.

Seems to me they might do a better job of learning if their bodies weren’t telling them they should still be in bed.

A group called the Central Time Coalition has been lobbying lawmakers to move Indiana to Central time. Members argue that sending kids to school in the dark for much of the year is simply unsafe, and they’ve won the support of a number of educators, including some in this area.

The campaign, though, hasn’t picked up much support among legislators.

Veterans of the General Assembly remember the bloody battle fought over Indiana’s switch to daylight-saving time, and they simply want no part of another round.

The problem, of course, is that Indiana has a split personality on the issue. Those in the eastern part of the state like having their clocks set consistent with Ohio. Those in the west would rather be lined up with Illinois.

That’s why sticking with standard time was such a great

compromise. Those in the east had their way part of the year, and those in the west had their way part of the year.

No one was happy all the time, but then again, how many people really are?

I don’t really know what the future holds for this issue, but I do know how I think it should be decided. Let’s just let everyone else fool around with changing their clocks twice a year. Why do we have to change with them?

• Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or

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