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Daylight Savings Time: Our Shared Experience

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 5, 2010

I’m always amazed at what people forget.  Like paying their taxes or registering to vote.  This weekend, we turn the clocks back (or at least most of the U.S. — and quite a few countries around the world — take part).  It’s a confusing tradition that will have some people showing up at church an hour early and next spring these same jokers will be strolling in just in time for the offering plate.

Hey, it’s not like I never forget anything.  I do and I’ve made some big blunders over the years, just ask my darling daughter Lauren.  But you have to be living in a big black hole in the back of a deep dark cave to miss Daylight Savings Time.  Over the past few days, at least a dozen people have mentioned Daylight Savings Time to me in passing conversation and its all over the news and internet.

Like most people, I’ll be happy to sleep in a little longer this Sunday, but daylight savings has a bigger meaning to me.  It’s one of the few things we Americans still do together these days.  There is something hugely comforting about knowing that millions of people across the country will all be lounging a little longer in bed and that while I’m changing my clocks (and inevitably missing a few here and there — don’t forget your watches!) there are countless people doing the same.

We used to have more collected national experiences, like listening to fireside chats on the radio, watching All in the Family on CBS or grainy TV images of man’s first steps on the moon.  Most of these shared moments brought us together via the media, but that’s all changed these days.  We now have so many television channels that its hard to keep track, and if we don’t see our favorite weekly show, we can catch it online or get it on Netflix.  Even big experiences like the Super Bowl or Olympics can be watched via TiVo at our convenience.  I like the fact that I have viewing flexibility, but rarely do we participate as a nation anymore.

So reflect about our shared national (and international) experience on Sunday morning, and know that we are all simply human beings trying to figure out what time it is.

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