Thursday, 3 April 2014

summer time blues, or: the next person that shrugs off daylight saving with a mention of "extra sleep" is going to get a stern talking-to

This coming Sunday, the enlightened south-east of Australia (and Tasmania) will glumly set their clocks back one hour, thus ending another year of glorious daylight saving and throwing a symbolic blanket over the birdcage of one of the most generally pleasurable summers in recent Australian memory—apart from the price of avocados, which was extortionate.

But as fastidious clock-owners (and drunkards) prepare to stumble to their clocks in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Office Dullard is licking his or her chops, because for a scant few days, there is something new to say, rather than: 

You: "Hello!"
Dullard: <arched eyebrows, thin smile, vacant brain> "Umm. Busy?"
You: <knows from experience that any answer will be viewed as incorrect> "Mmmnnn."

You see, as clocks are pushed back, the Dullard's repertoire moves ever so slightly forward: 

Dullard: "Umm. Busy?"
You: "Miserable. Daylight saving ends this weekend." 
Dullard: "Umm."
You: "I enjoy a bit of sunlight after work, you see." 
Dullard: "I don't mind. I get an extra hour of sleep!"

The Dullard generally delivers such lines with ruthless insufferability, knowing full well that the ability to make inane quips about daylight saving is a privilege that can easily be taken away. Consider the case of Russia. Had NATO's foreign policy advisers done their homework, or at least sought a second opinion from Switzerland, they would have seen this Crimea business coming from a mile away—in 2011, Messrs Putin and Medvedev stole a swatch of the very fabric of time when they switched to daylight time and then refused to give the hour back, ever.


Although I, as a city-dwelling knob, would gladly support pushing the clocks even further forward in winter—allowing me to enjoy sixteen variations on the taco between 5 pm and sunset (even if it meant drinking my morning macchiato in pitch blackness)—I do appreciate that exposing our farmers to mild jetlag may not be good for overall state-wide productivity.

So while I am ready to concede daylight saving as winter approaches, I am not ready to deal with the Dullard's opinion on the matter.  Here are three handy phrases you can write on your hand, right now, so that you may be ready with a retort the next time your very own Dullard speaks.

1. You are a narrow-minded tit.

Winston Churchill is reputed to have said:
"An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night... we pay it back with golden interest five months later."
Compare with:
"I will gladly pay you a winter of darkness, for an extra hour of sleep today!"

Who in their right mind would choose to trumpet the shallow luxury of a single hour of sleep over the delights of almost half a year of pleasant, sunny evenings?  Who thinks in such asinine ways?  Umm.

On second thought, perhaps I shouldn't suggest such strong language—tits are actually far from narrow minded, being (unlike the Dullard) quite adaptable and intelligent, able to open milk bottles and use tools to dig out larvae from trees.

The Dullard, on the other hand, is so inflexible and vapid that it appears unable to even make the simplest of choices for itself.  Which leads me to:

2. Why are you letting the Government tell you when to sleep?

April isn't the only exciting time for the Office Dullard.  Even worse is the first Sunday in October**, where, faced with the looming onset of long, pleasant summer evenings, the Dullard gets whipped up into a miniature frenzy at the thought of "losing an hour of sleep".

But here is the thing—unless you are this man (or this duck), you are able to sleep whenever you want!  Do you want an extra hour of sleep... on any day of your choosing?  Go to bed early!  Take a nap!  Can't bear to "lose" an hour of sleep in the springtime?  Adjust your bedtime earlier by 10-minute increments over six days, and, would you believe it, that stitch in time will save (cloud) nine.

Yet Dullard and friend(s) would have you believe that one's Hours of Sleep are a rigidly controlled affair, to be taken only as decreed by the Governor under the Summer Time Act 1972 (not to be confused with the summertime summertime act of 1972).

Incidentally, I had a read of the Summer Time Act, and it turns out that there are no penalties for refusing to change one's clocks in observance of daylight saving—which bodes extremely well for my family's legacy, particularly my grandfather's unconditional refusal to observe daylight saving time from its introduction in 1971 onwards (unless you count as a penalty my grandmother's bewildered rage at the innocent childhood question: "what time is Papa home for dinner?").

But for those of us without a patient wife or a licence bestowed by old age to set and live in your own time zone, there can really only be one solution within the reach of you, me, and the Dullard:

3. I'm gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fun vacation.

I'm gonna take my problem to the United Nations.


** If you have trouble remembering which way the clock goes at what time, I personally am a big fan of the North American mnemonic phrase "spring forward, fall back".  Despite ongoing safety concerns, this has also been adopted in recent years as the motto of the Melbourne Bus & Tram Drivers' Association.

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