Essay

Time has come today

Time has come today

Even though Indiana has observed Daylight Saving Time only since 2006, it still feels like just a couple years ago that we started. The spring-forward transition still hits me like a sack of cement each year. I’ll be groggy and grouchy for two weeks while I adjust.

Life was good when we stayed on standard time year round. I recommend it. We never changed our clocks, and we never had any interruptions to our circadian rhythms.

But in these 15 years that Indiana has observed Daylight Saving Time, I’ve come to enjoy how the sun sets well after 9 pm come June. The long sunny days are outstanding.

I’m sure the people of Bangor, Maine, 1,183 miles away from where I sit now and with whom Indiana shares a time zone, might feel differently. While I’m enjoying 9:30 sunsets, they are enjoying 4 am sunrises. I’m sure “enjoying” is too strong a word.

A couple of U.S. Senators have written the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021,” which proposes to keep Daylight Saving Time permanent across the United States. I’m for it. But I’m sure the people of Bangor wish we’d go on standard time year round, so they can sleep in a little.

Standard

28 thoughts on “Time has come today

  1. Ken Bandy says:

    I can remember back in the 60’s, when growing up in Terre Haute, we observed DST. It’s rather ambiguous in the Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_Indiana, showing Indiana’s long struggle with “what time it is”. One of the few things I agreed with Mitch on was getting the state back on DST, no longer having to consider what time of year it is to figure out what time it is in another part of the country. However, I kind of think we would be better served to be on Central time.

    • I knew vaguely that we used to do DST, but having been born in 1967 I have no memory of it! I do remember, however, growing up in South Bend with grandparents over the border in Michigan and having to always ask what time it was in Michigan. Half the year the TV stations in SB had to say things like “Watch Eyewitness News at 6, 5 in Michigan.”

      Agreed: Indiana should be on Central Standard time all year.

  2. Back in the 80’s I worked along the IL/IN border. We had clients in both states. Fairly often there would be confusion about the time. We were always checking is that Illinois or Indiana time? Right now I think I would like to stay on one time all year. Although with being retired the time gets to make a lot less difference.

    • The challenge in Indiana was that, in business, it was super confusing for the rest of the country to know what time it was in Indiana. I worked for a company 25 years ago with main offices in San Mateo, CA, and they were always asking us what time it was in Indiana when they called. It was kind of frustrating for everybody. DST ended that.

  3. The big flaw with PDST is it changes the wrong clock. The standard for time is that noon is when the sun is directly overhead. This actually varies within a time zone, since they can be up to 1,000 miles wide depending on what latitude you’re at. It was the great Canadian engineer Sandford Fleming who standardized time so that railroads could run more efficiently. Up here at 52┬░ we have almost 10 hours difference between the solstices. Nearer the equator it’s becomes none, and indeed inverts so that the Summer one is actually shorter than Winter. You happen to live in the limited latitude range where shifting the clocks an hour appears to make a difference.
    If you like earlier sunrises or later sunsets, change your operating hours. That way individuals can make best use of the available light without interfering with society in general, or the facts of the matter.

    • Growing up in Floyd County, which always observed DST thanks to our ties to Louisville, KY, the year-round standard time really threw me when I moved to Lafayette. My apartment’s bedroom faced east and the sun rose at what I considered an obscene hour in the summer.

      I agree that Indiana should be in Central Time based on our longitude, but the late sunsets of summer trump every other argument for me personally.

      • That would have been quite a change to adapt to! A friend of mine grew up in Crawford County and said you always had to check with people whether they were on “fast time” or “slow time” — in other words, did you hew to Louisville time or not.

        • My favorite field trip was when we went to Spring Mill State Park. The trip took almost exactly an hour, so we got there at the same time we left. As a fourth grader, there was no funnier joke.

    • If I didn’t have a day job, the usual 8 to 5, I wouldn’t pay attention to the clock nearly as much. I’d sleep until I woke up, and go to bed when I was tired. But I do work for the man, and live on a life schedule that supports it. So 9:30 sunsets are bloody amazing.

  4. Kurt Ingham says:

    I love the long days. I don’t care if it is dark in the morning-I’m not fully awake or aware anyway!

  5. I don’t understand why we need DST anymore, we are a 24 hour a day global world. i say either stick with Standard time or DST and never change it … the amount of sun we get daily is based on our relationship with the sun as a planet!!! Just changing the random concept of time does not bring more sunshine!!! I get up at 3:00 am for work, the sun is rarely up with me!!!

  6. Ah yes, time…..in my business I work with people in different parts of the US, New Zealand where I live, Hong Kong and Australia. Different places change their clocks at different times, and some don’t change their clocks at all. We are two or three weeks away I think….this time of the year can be quite confusing ;)

  7. Roger Meade says:

    The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is also kind of weird when it comes to time. In Ishpeming, we are just about directly north of the Illinois/Indiana line, and on EST or EDT. Ontonagon, about 100 miles west is also Eastern Time Zone, but Iron Mountain, about 20 miles SW is Central time. The four counties along the Wisconsin border are in Central Time Zone because economically they are more tied to Wisconsin than to Michigan.

    Being so far north, our summer sunsets are even later, but we pay the price in December.

  8. Andy Umbo says:

    Here’s a couple of interesting things.

    The lateral distance between the Chicago/Milwaukee corridor and Indianapolis is not that much, so I was surprised when I moved to Indianapolis, in the longest days of summer, I could sit on my porch reading well after 9pm, sometimes until 9:45 pm, which would virtually be the same light in Chicago at 8:45 pm. This speaks to your point about Bangor being in the same time zone, but having substantially different illumination at the same time.

    During winter hours, I noticed in Indianapolis, that I was either going to work in the light and coming home in the dark, or vice-versa, In Chicago, in winter hours, you are both going to work and coming home in the dark in the middle of winter…depressing.

    After living in the Milwaukee/Chicago corridor most of my life, when I moved to Washington DC for work, I could never get used to being in the eastern time zone, ditto when I moved to Indianapolis for a job! In the central time zone, the “premium” night time television station offering is at 9pm, then news at 10 pm, and in bed by 10:30 pm. Having the premium TV offering be on at 10 pm, with the news ending at 11:30 pm, and then having jobs start at 8 am, does not seem to be a great way to run! You’d be lucky to get 6 hours of sleep.

    We all know why the northwest corner of Indiana is on central time, because everyone is either doing business with or working in Chicago, but figuring out where the eastern/central time zone starts and stops, is more confusing to me, than just having Indiana be all eastern time

    • Until I was a young adult, during DST, because Indiana didn’t spring forward we were essentially on Central Standard Time during those months. So prime time TV started at 7 and the local news was at 10. It was wonderful, and we all hated it when we had to fall back and have prime time start at 8 again.

      Sometime during my young adulthood, Indiana TV stations started tape-delaying prime time by an hour during DST. I will never know why.

      It doesn’t matter now, of course; who follows the prime-time TV schedule when we have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video?

  9. Scott Bennett says:

    I’m ten miles from Bangor. The longest day of the year is sunrise 4:53, sunset 8:23. The shortest is sunrise 6:53, sunset 3:53. The “early” sunset in summer is fine with me as I’m an early riser, but Pitch darkness at 4:40 in December sucks!

  10. With Indiana being on the edge of a time zone, we will never find a perfect solution. Northwest orients to Chicago, southeast orients to Cincinnati and Indianapolis smack in the middle means that someone will be unhappy whichever time zone we’re in.

    As for DST, I no longer care if it’s standard or daylight, just pick one and stick to it.

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