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Cat in the Stax: Why Daylight Saving Time Scares Me

By Ethan Shea

Less than two weeks ago, on Nov. 7, daylight saving time (DST) came to an end as our clocks fell back an hour. Although our mornings are brighter, unfortunately, the sun will set at 4:43 p.m. on the day this blog is published.

As you know from the title of this blog, the business of messing with our clocks just doesn’t sit right with me, so for this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I’m taking a closer look at the reason I’ll be walking home from class in the dark tonight.

To begin, we need to understand why we started “springing forward” and “falling back” in the first place. It may feel like the way we handle time has always been the same, but surprisingly, the United States did not officially begin practicing DST until 1918. The measure was enacted as a means of preserving energy during World War I. More natural light at night meant less coal being burned to illuminate the nation.

"Observance of daylight saving time by state"

Observance of daylight saving time by state

Stranger still, not every state uses DST. Both Hawaii (HI) and most of Arizona (AZ), aside from the Navajo Nation, have decided to opt out of DST, so they remain in their respective standard time zones throughout the entirety of the year. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees time zones in the United States, states are allowed to remove themselves from DST but are not allowed to remain in DST.

There have been several bills put forth by politicians in recent years, each with different ideas of how to manipulate timezones so we can enjoy more daylight without messing up our clocks twice a year. In spite of their efforts, none have come close to being enacted.

To answer the title of this blog, DST is unnerving because it reminds me just how unstable our world is. If something as seemingly immutable as time can shift abruptly, what do we have, if anything, that is stable?

Altogether, the moral of this post is that time isn’t real, so go ahead, show up late to that interview, be tardy for that dentist appointment, or leave your date waiting! Don’t submit to the tyrannical Timekeepers at the DOT!

Jokes aside, I don’t recommend fighting an un-winnable battle against time. Unless you’re one of my dogs, who don’t seem to be phased by DST, we all need some sort of order to our days.

Regardless of how time flows elsewhere, students, staff, and faculty have access to Falvey Memorial Library 24/7 this semester! You can check out more detailed stacks and service desk hours here.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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  1. Comment by Luisa Cywinski — November 18, 2021 @ 10:56 AM

    I had no idea the DOT was in charge of time zones. There should be a Ministry of Time or something! Or we could email Pete Buttigieg! Thanks for the informative post!

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Last Modified: November 17, 2021

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