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STOP Don't Touch That Clock!

"Welcome to the bi-annual meeting of STOP ( Saving Time Offends People). Hands up, all those who agree that daylight 'saving' time is a devious plot perpetrated on a gullible public!"

"There, in the back, is that a hoof raised? Two hooves, actually. And, you are.?"
"Molly Moo, a cow from Saskatchewan." " Good to have you with us Molly. You, sir, you're new here, aren't you? You're the Governor of Washington State? Well, I'm sure the power shortage is stimulating lots of new ideas among our neighbours to the south. We expect some enlightening discussion tonight. Thank you all, I'm gratified to know I'm not alone."

Few comments reduce me to gibbering incoherence as quickly as the inane, "Oh, good, it's daylight saving time. Now we'll have more light!" Honey, we've got all the light we'll ever have. If you want to play golf at 5:00 a.m., get up an hour earlier. But, don't demand that the entire Canadian population join you.

Equally ludicrous is the touching declaration "We're turning the clock back this weekend. I can sleep in an extra hour!" Has it come to this? Are Canadians actually waiting for government approval before sleeping in? George Orwell, come back, it's not over yet!

Every spring and fall I spend at least a week, my circadian rhythms wobbling wildly out of sync, muttering about sleep deprivation and jet lag. The name of Stanley Coren, U.B.C. sleep researcher features prominently in my conversation with any friend who hasn't dived for cover. Dr. Coren has documented that these bi-annual time shifts adversely affect Canadians' safety and productivity. But, what does that matter to a nation of sheep?

Far better we should follow the Holsteins, as they did in Saskatchewan. Farmers there, assured by urban pundits that all the smart people were switching to daylight saving; that it would aid the war effort, help on the 14th tee, and get them to their computers earlier to click onto the Sydney, Australia, stock exchange, were sceptical. They did the wise thing. They consulted with their cows.

"Nope.", said the cows. "Milk is milk and we won't alter production just because you humans want to mess with time."

The farmers pondered. Should they trust the cows? They went out and kicked a few clods. (Dirt clods, not urban time manipulators). They noticed the fields were wet with dew and would stay wet until that plucky old sun rolled high enough in the heavens to dry them. No point in harvesting wet grain. Saskatchewan farmers stood firm. No time change.

Saskatchewan stays on bovine time and alfalfa time. Natural time. But, it's the prairie anomaly. Manitoba and Alberta went along with urban time. Are Saskatchewan folk just independent thinkers? Or, is agriculture more important there than in neighbouring provinces? Whatever the reason, Saskatchewan's stubborn stand may be the way of the future.

Recently the Governor of Washington State described how his administration is fending off the power shortages and heavy utility fees facing California. Wind power, solar power, conservation, keeping power regulated. Sounds good, doesn't it?

What really captured my attention was his comment on daylight saving time. "We have more light in the morning now," said the astute Governor, looking handsomer with every word, "when we don't really need it. We could use that light in the evening, save some street lighting etc. Power demands are heavier in early evening; it's the supper surge." He pointed out that several states already stay on one time year round. Washington's considering it.

Bill Gates, meet Molly Moo. If high-tech Washington follows rural Saskatchewan, it won't be long before NOT changing the clock is trendy.

Soon, let it be soon.

(Trudy is a freelance writer living in Kamloops, B.C.)

Other articles by Trudy Frisk

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