20191105_hdr_opinion_wilson_p1

Tammy Wilson

I still want my “saved” hour back

Is there anything more annoying than daylight savings time?

I woke up Sunday to realize that the rest of the world had fallen back and left me behind, or ahead, or…whatever.

My dogs, meanwhile, operate on the sun and belly time: when the sun comes up, it’s time to fill their bellies.

After tending to breakfast, I spent the next hour adjusting clocks. Until now, my late husband handled most mechanical and digital gadgetry, so Sunday’s wakeup call was another unpleasant adventure on the high lonesome.

Watches and alarm clocks were easy. Both of my watches and my alarm clock involve old-fashioned dials. Just pull out the little side knob and twist. Easy peasy.

The hallway wall clock was a simple fix too. Just move the hour hand.

Digital oven clocks were another matter. No knobs to twist and no arrows pointing up or down. It takes a secret decoder to figure out how to reset them, and my deceased husband isn’t around to share it.

I rifled through the stash of owner’s manuals for the microwave and found instructions for adjusting the clock, but the convection oven had me stumped. There are no “up” and “down” arrows described by the online references guide, and heaven knows where the owner’s manual is.

So I skipped the oven clock for an easier target: the vintage Bakelite clock over the kitchen sink. I bought this charmer of a timepiece from the trash heap of the Great Depression. It came with a crumbling electrical cord and rusted works, but I was in love with its lime-green case and Art Deco numerals.

Back in 1931, manufacturers weren’t very concerned with the aesthetics of an electrical cord snaking down the wall. Actually electrical cords would have been a status symbol for people who didn’t have electricity, such as those in bread lines and most everyone on a farm. Far fewer folks would have been bothered with the time shuffle every spring and fall. There were weightier issues to worry about, such as their next meal.

Before I adjusted the Bakelite clock on Sunday, I’d searched the attic for a small screw driver to open the back of the case. Then I carefully bent five flanges to remove the face and access the hour hand.

Twenty minutes later I applauded myself for my can-do spirit as I rehung the clock above the sink.

Meanwhile, two vehicles awaited me in the garage. Luckily, there were owner’s manuals available, though I had no clue that instructions for the SUV were in a separate manual labeled “Infotainment System.” That’s how I learned to press “5” and then a series of other numbers to reset the clock.

But that onerous oven clock was taunting me with a time display that would be correct if I lived in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

Actually, we can thank the Canadians for initiating daylight saving. Back in 1908, residents of Thunder Bay, Ontario decided it would be brilliant to temporarily move their clocks ahead one hour to “save” use of artificial light. Others followed suit as World War I approached, thinking that the daylight saving would help them accomplish more for the war effort by saving electricity, or something like that. Merits of that argument have been argued for more than a century,

A total of 70 countries (or parts of those countries) follow the daylight saving scheme, using various dates to switch back and forth, which adds to the confusion.

Meanwhile, there are some American holdouts. The states of Arizona and Hawaii do not observe daylight saving time, nor do Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions.

And as for my stubborn oven clock, I suppose I could call the Frigidaire help line or the appliance dealer we bought it from assuming anyone there remembers how to reset an 11-year-old digital clock. Or I can hope that a friend may be able to guess the secret code.

Or I could continue to use masking tape to cover the display. There are three clocks in the kitchen and two of them tell correct time: Eastern Standard Time. The name alone should tell us something.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Tammy Wilson is a writer from Newton.

Message her at tamra@tamrawilson.com

Load comments