Why you’re feeling crabby today

Yawn

Courtesy Arthemia

 

Let me get this straight: I must get up an hour early, drive to work in the dark, change all my clocks, deal with tired co-workers and possibly miss an international phone call tomorrow,  all so you can walk your dog at 8:00 PM in July? I will feel tired for a week. Why must I upset my routine so you morning slackers can hang out late? Can’t you just get up an hour earlier and leave the rest of us alone?

Daylight Saving Time is the stupid brainchild of goofball productivity maven, George Vernon Hudson. Hudson wanted to get home from his day job in time so he could enjoy some etymological field work before bed. That’s right, we’re all inconvenienced because this man wanted to collect bugs after dinner.

All sorts of busybodies had ideas about how we should be spending our summer evenings. Woodrow Wilson thought you should be golfing late as he preferred to do. Idaho congressmen think you’ll eat more French fries. Charcoal companies want you to make more evening burgers. Environmentalists honestly think you will be saving electricity. The government is more than happy to help them. Big Brother sets your bedtime: he tells you when to get up and when to go to bed.

Millions of people truly believe they are ‘gaining’ an hour of summer evening and an hour of sleep in the winter. We’ll be healthier, save energy and drive more carefully! Yet  actual energy savings promised have never materialized; our health is at risk; and you may have a car accident the day after you set your clock. We haven’t ‘gained’ anything other than inconvenience. We’ve ‘lost’ a good bit in the balance. Meddling in that most private of activities, when we set our heads to our pillows, is just so galling.

 

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WIlliam Willett, a meddler who knew how you should be spending your time, is buried near London. I encourage everyone to visit his memorial and urinate on it.

 

If you work with people in other countries, you know that DST goes into effect on different dates in the spring and fall. Try to plan a simulcast with England, the US and Brazil. Equatorial countries have no need of DST. Even some US states wisely self-removed themselves from  time-shifting. Yes, yes, software can solve this, but it really doesn’t: you must check a world-clock each time you place an international call.

Quick! What time is it in Pretoria right now? Are they on DST? See? You didn’t know.

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Harold Lloyd, was happy to change his clocks twice a year.

 

There really is only one time. I call this “Now.” There is only one clock and it ticks in Greenwich, UK. Why not  use the exact same time, GMT, everywhere? When the clock says it is 08:00 in the UK, why couldn’t it also be 08:00 in Rio, Los Angeles, Kyoto and Bangalore?

Logic won’t sway the meddlesome do-gooders in government. They know how you should be spending your time (and money). But hey, I have a better idea: how about Calendar Saving Time (CST)? I live in a place with seven months of miserable winter. If I were Emperor of the Northern Latitudes, I would decree that everyone flips their calendar forward one month at the end of December, and backwards at the end of July. Think about it — no Januaries and two Julys. Makes sense to me.

You would get used to it.

 

 

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Bring Back Our ‘Shushers!’

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 “Social interaction has its place and time, but so does uninterrupted work.”

 

 

 

I don’t visit our public library anymore. It is no longer a place of quiet study. Young parents turn their little kids loose. Rough-looking teenage girls cluster around the free Internet computers IM-ing each other, hooting and giggling. Seniors pull up chairs and play cards for hours. There are the people who bray into their cell phones. I wonder why they go there at all. They don’t come to study or research. What work are they doing? What deep thoughts do they cultivate?

Today I order my library books on-line, stop by to pick them up and quickly get out. A shame, because I used to sit for hours leisurely reading or strolling through the stacks, looking at spines and thumbing through books. My library was a place of escape, a haven, a place to recharge. Introverts like me are energized by solace. Social bedlam drains us. No, the e-people (extroverts) have taken over.

Starbucks is quieter than my library. What happened?

Libraries decided to become ‘gathering places.’ Librarians put aside the ‘shush’ and took down the ‘Quiet’ signs. Behind this misguided objective of inclusiveness was a desire to ramp up foot traffic. More feet means more funding. A humming library is less likely to get its budget slashed. So video checkouts, coffee shops, ‘community rooms’ and theaters are the new norm. Of course, this drew in more people, but at a cost. People like me won’t go there anymore. Where can we go?

Greg Lambert, Library & Records Manager at King & Spalding LLP, writes about this dilemma. University of Arizona undergrads are now banned from the school’s law library. Their numbers were too large for the small space, displacing the law students who must go there. This tomb-like  library, a “best kept secret,” was a sanctuary for getting things done. The main library is overrun by chatterboxes. Studious undergrads have no place to think.  

This can be a problem in the office, too. Those employees unlucky enough to work in an ‘open office’ (meaning: “we are too cheap to spend much money on offices, so we’ll just put desks in the middle of the floor and call it a social environment”) will run to building lobbies with their laptops. They plead for a telecommuting day. They hide in the dark corner of an empty cafeteria, back to the door, hoping no one will see them. They long for the glorious bygone years when they had a cubicle with six-foot walls.  

The workplace, like the library, needs a ‘shusher’ so people can get things done.

As a kid in the Pleistocene Era, I knew I had to be quiet in the library.  All the librarians were expert ‘shushers.’ Most were equipped with Disapproving Glances. An arched eyebrow and a pursed lip was enough to quiet any ten-year-old. My school library at Sts. Cyril and Methodius had Nun-Librarians with Seek-And-Destroy Anti-Chatter Death Rays.
 
Our library in Woodbury, The R. H. Stafford Library, (not the ‘Woodbury Library,’ mind you) has a Quiet Room with a soft chair and some tables. It’s not big enough. I think they have it backwards. They should rename it The Inconsiderate, Rude and Loud People Room. Anyone with the need to speak above the merest whisper must be sent there. The Rest Of The Library can then return to blissfull quiet for Everyone Else.

But they must bring back the SHUSH!

 

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From Salem Press (Photo by Melinda Stone)

 

 

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