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Tom Ross: There’s a reason anglers always come home late

Daylight Saving Time needn't be so confusing

I did it again — I messed up Daylight Saving time. But I wasn’t late for anything. All I did was make my best fishing buddy late for a dinner party because I failed to move the hands on my wristwatch forward one hour before I went to bed Saturday night. Better him than me. To make matters worse, the fishing was lousy. Or, more accurately, the fishing in the Colorado River on Sunday was fantastic, but the catching was lousy.

Anyone who has the misfortune to be married to an angler knows that the passage of time is elastic for people who spend an entire day standing in a river hoping for a fish to bite. It’s as if they are standing in a river of time. Typical human awareness of the passage of time is suspended whilst one is standing in the current. And it’s anyone’s guess when, if ever, a fisher-person will return home. It could be long after dark — even on the first day of Daylight Saving Time.

Einstein summed this up nicely in his “Theory of Anglers’ Relative Disregard of Marital Mechanics.”

Of course, all of us understand that Daylight Saving Time was put into place during World War I. The intent was to save precious energy for the war effort by maximizing the use of daylight hours. If you think it through, I’m certain you will agree with me that there is absolutely no need to move the hands on our clocks to take advantage of the longer days of spring and summer. There are 24 hours in every day, give or take a couple of seconds, and all we need do is agree to get up an hour earlier in the morning, leave for work or school an hour earlier and then, at the end of the day, come home an hour earlier. What’s so hard about that?

Instead, we go through the pain of changing our clocks. And as if modern life weren’t complicated enough, we now have clocks on every appliance thinkable. On the first Sunday in April we are obligated to run around the house turning back the clock on the coffee maker, the DVD player, all three cars, our desktop computer, our laptop, our PDA, our remote sensing meteorological weather station and both of our cell phones. All of those things are minor inconveniences compared with the special heck endured by those unfortunates who book a flight on a red-eye from Los Angeles to New York on the Saturday night that North America switches to Daylight Saving Time.

Imagine you have friends who care enough about you to agree to pick you up at La Guardia at 7 a.m. Sunday. Just before boarding your plane for a midnight departure (3 a.m. in New York) you call and leave a voice mail saying your flight is on schedule. It’s a direct flight, so there’s no chance of missing a connection in Chicago, and all systems are go. Two hours into an otherwise uneventful flight, the pilot comes on the intercom and announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s 2 a.m., it’s Daylight Saving Time, and I’ve just moved my watch forward by exactly one hour. I regret to inform you that we will be arriving at our gate an hour late.” What are you supposed to tell your friends?

People in Indiana have it worst of all, because Hoosiers have their own sense of time. In Indiana, 77 of the state’s 92 counties are within the Eastern time zone. However, they do not move their clocks ahead to Daylight Saving Time in April like the rest of us. In most of the great state of Indiana, they just remain on standard time. There are two exceptions among the 77 counties, however. Those two counties near Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., use Daylight Saving Time to be compatible with the major metro areas across the state line. And then there are the 15 counties in the northwestern and southwestern corners, which are in the Central time zone and use standard and daylight time.

We won’t even go into what time anglers in Indiana come home for dinner.