“The early bird may get the worm – but the early worm
~ Norman Augustine ~
I have a special relationship with standard time. That’s because I was born on Time Change Sunday. In fact, I’ve always viewed “falling back” as a gift. Once a year, on or near my birthday, the government gives me an extra hour of sleep.
Mind you, not everyone thinks that way. My brother Jay was born in late November. So his first Time Change Sunday came in the spring when he lost an hour of sleep. He’s felt ripped off ever since.
Once every spring, the government steals an hour of his slumber and then only grudgingly gives it back the following autumn. Worse yet, daylight savings time lasts two months longer than standard time, so the inequality is all the more unjust.
Mind you, despite the extra hour of sleep, my first day on earth wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Knowing that my mother was due any day, Dad made the canny decision to rebuild the engine in the family car. He worked on it all day Saturday because it needed to be ‘perfect.’ Unfortunately, dad was no mechanic. On Sunday morning mom felt her tummy and said, “I’m ready.”
She was but the car wasn’t.
While dad rushed around with wrenches and jumper cables, Mom called the doctor, who ordered an ambulance.
Ambulances back then were more like station wagons than the cube vans they use nowadays. The attendant popped Mom into the stretcher but Dad had to sit on the floor in the back. There were no seatbelts. So as they raced down the big hill outside of town, siren wailing, dad slid all the way to the front smacking both legs into a sharp metal railing.
By the time they reached the hospital, dad was bleeding liberally.
Mom opined, “I think we need to hurry.”
The nurse gave mom a baleful look. “Be quiet, Ma’am, Can’t you see your husband is hurt?”
“I’m having a baby.”
“Well unless you’re having it now, sweetie, I suggest you zip it,” she snickered.
“But I am having it now!” Mom answered.
The paramedics thought that was pretty funny, and began laughing at the nurse.
The nurse got so upset she started yelling at mom. That got mom so upset her labour stopped. Which got the doctor so upset that he started yelling at the nurse. Who, in turn, got so upset she started yelling at mom again.
And me? I was so upset, I refused to come out and meet the world until the noisy nurse had finished her shift.
I mentioned that story to my brother the other day while we were having coffee.
“I’m looking forward to Sunday,” I smiled. “I’m grateful for the extra hour of sleep.”
“I’m not grateful. They owe it to me!” Jay replied with righteous furor.
“But you were raised in Ontario,” I replied, “With the three-hour time difference, aren’t you actually two hours ahead, anyway?”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s the principle,” Jay sniffed.
“And come to think of it, every time you’ve moved, it’s been west. So whenever you passed a time zone marker you got an extra hour of sleep!”
“That was the plan.”
“So what’s next? You’re already at mile zero.”
“Honolulu!” Jay smiled.
I shook my head. “It’s a good thing mom and dad didn’t settle in Newfoundland or you’d have to get up four-and-a-half hours sooner.”
“That’s why they call it, ‘The Rock.’ It must be like prison having to get up that early!”
Perhaps my brother is right. Maybe time changes are just a regulatory rip-off. But I’ll take the extra hour of sleep.
Principles or not.