Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Time Change

     I always used to be amused by people who, in the fall, said they were late to church because of the time change. My thoughts always ran along the lines of, "Hmm... shouldn't you be here an hour early then?" What I have come to realize as I mellow (now doesn't that sound so much nicer than aging?) is that being late during the fall change and being late when the clocks jump forward in the spring, although the same result, have completely different root causes.

     Being late in the spring is explained easily enough. We go along living our normal routines when all of a sudden – BANG! Do everything you are used to doing, and be everywhere you're expected to be, but do it on an hour's less sleep. Yes, I know I should have gone to bed an hour earlier the night before, but try to convince either your kids or your cats they should do so. No wonder people come into church the day after we spring forward looking a bit dazed.

     Its autumnal equivalent has a completely different anatomy. In the fall, people aren't late because they've lost an hour, but precisely because they've gained an hour. In the spring, the sun has already been assaulting your retinas earlier and earlier each day, so you might as well get up anyway. I mean, what's the use of fighting it? If you have kids they probably have been bouncing on your bed since 5:17 AM begging to hunt for Easter eggs anyway.

     Ah, but in the fall, you're wrapped in your warm dark cocoon dreaming, secure in the knowledge this particular Sunday morning, of all the Sunday mornings in the year, you can hit that snooze button two, maybe even three times without guilt or consequence. It may be my imagination, but it also seems that particular morning every year my coffee tastes especially smooth, seducing me with its Arabica goodness into taking everything just a little bit slower. Why rush? Life is the journey, not the destination.

     You float along in this pleasant fugue until you happen glance at the clock you so joyfully turned back one hour last night. As it comes slowly into focus and you do the math, you realize you now have precisely seven-and-a-half minutes to get in the shower and get on the road or you’re going to be late to church!