Spring forward, everyone!
It sounds jaunty.
But what's really happening this weekend, at 2 a.m. Sunday wherever you happen to be in the United States of America -- except Hawaii and most of Arizona -- is that an hour of precious weekend downtime will vanish in the transition from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time.
So springing forward, 2 a.m. will become 3 a.m. Our weekend will be shrunk from 48 hours to 47. We will live with an unassuaged sense of grievance (and a faint sense of fatigue) until we get that hour back in November.
Like everything else -- the drought, taxes and potholes -- this is really the fault of a bunch of people in Washington who can't keep their hands off anything. Long, long ago, they latched onto the notion that fiddling with the hands of the clock in the springtime (and again in fall) would benefit humanity.
The original idea is credited to Ben Franklin, but it was a London architect and builder named William Willett -- yes, a foreigner -- who in 1907 came up with a concrete proposal in his cheerily titled "The Waste of Daylight."
Willett described the ill he wanted to cure:
"... For nearly half the year the sun shines upon the land for several hours each day while we are asleep, and is rapidly nearing the horizon, having already passed its western limit, when we reach home after the work of the day is over. Under the most favourable circumstances, there then remains only a brief spell of declining daylight in which to spend the short period of leisure at our disposal.
"Now, if some of the hours of wasted sunlight could be withdrawn from the beginning and added to the end of the day, how many advantages would be gained by all, and in particular by those who spend in the open air, when light permits them to do so, whatever time they have at their command after the duties of the day have been discharged."
To cut to the chase, Congress adopted the daylight saving scheme in 1918, and it's been with us in some form ever since. The most recent permutation, in which we spring forward the second Sunday in March and fall back the first Sunday in November, took effect in 2007.
So it's almost here: the second Sunday in March.
Spring forward. Spring forward. Spring forward.
Correction: Our original post stated that Daylight Saving Time would take effect Sunday throughout the United States. In fact, Hawaii does not observe Daylight Saving Time; in Arizona, only the Navajo Nation observes DST.