"Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody really care?"
This is a line from one of my favorite "Chicago" songs (the group, not the musical), and it always crosses my mind twice a year when I wake up on a Sunday morning, look at my clock, and softly begin to cry.
Of course, that's before the screaming starts.
"WHY? WHY? WHY DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS???" I run around the house, pull dusty clocks off walls, move the rusty little wheels, and know in six months I get to do it again. And, of course, there's always at least ONE clock I'll forget, and it's usually the one sitting upstairs at the top of the hall. So, after I've forgotten it, I leave it alone out of spite. I also get crazy about the clock in my car...I refuse to touch it, because that involves my having to pull out the Chevrolet HHR mini-encyclopedia that I keep in the glove compartment. I can never remember how to set the clock, and I resent having to look it up. So, for half the year, I drive around with my friends saying, "Do you know your time is wrong?"* Of course I do. I'm proud of being behind my time. I do feel some qualms of guilt, though, when I remember how it used to confuse my poor mother. She didn't realize that I stopped adjusting the clock. She just thought the car engine magically displayed the correct time, so it never occurred to her it wasn't correct. We'd get out of the car, go into some restaurant and Mom would ask me what time it was. She'd be horrified when I'd tell her, and she ended up thinking time was passing a lot faster than it actually was. That's a mean thing to do to an old person.
(By the way, If you want to know more of the history behind this time-changing madness, and really want to live in a world where we stop messing with our internal and external clocks, visit: http://www.standardtime.com/ .)
I wholeheartedly reject Daylight Savings Time. I feel our lives are complicated enough without our government deliberately mixing things up. (I will pause for a moment until the general laughter dies down.) And yes, while I appreciate the longer days Spring and Summer naturally bring, I don't see a need to have daylight still happening while I'm trying to enjoy my prime time television. I'll be sitting on my couch after working hard all day ... trying to watch "The Amazing Race" ... and I'll hear the backyard whispering ... "Awww, come on out! Weed a garden! It's still light out!"**
And don't even get me started on the internal messiness. I know everybody's going to be in a rotten mood at work tomorrow, including people who actually made it to work on time. Yeah, I know what the experts say ... to avoid this angst, we're supposed to force ourselves to go to bed earlier, 15 minutes a night, so that our internal clocks are ready for the change. Really...who does this?***
So yes, rainy days and time changes always get me down.
It used to be ... in olden times ... when I was sad, lonely, bored, and really confused about which coat to wear outside, I'd turn to my old friend ... The Weather Channel. TWC was always there for me. When I needed excitement, I could always look for my pal, Jim Cantore, cowering on some pier in South Carolina waiting for the next hurricane to blow him into the sea. When I needed to feel better about myself (and let's face it, people living in Cleveland always need more self-esteem, our sports teams suck), I could turn on TWC and watch some blizzard kicking the crap out of Minnesota and think, "Cool, at least I'm not living THERE!" And when I needed a weather forecast RIGHT NOW, I knew I could count on my "Local on the 8's" to deliver exactly what I needed and when I needed it.
I think, for many of us, TWC was the first reality television programming to reel us in. When the channel began in 1982, I can remember many people ridiculing it. They'd scoff, "Who's going to tune in to watch a channel that only talks about WEATHER?"****
Now, I understand that in some parts of the country, TWC probably doesn't get a lot of traffic. Why do people in San Francisco (which I understand is a really big city in California) need a forecast when the only thing that matters is what time the fog's rolling in so the locals know when to go outside and laugh at all the tourists freezing to death? Why do people in LA need a forecast when they spend their entire lives sitting inside their cars waiting for traffic to move? And why do people in Florida (aka: "Jurassic Park") need any forecast from March until October...it's hot, sticky, and storms every afternoon at 3 o'clock.
But here in the Midwest, a LOT of folks watch TWC because our weather ranges from moody to psychotic. We never know what's really happening out there. Last March, it was 80 degrees and the minimum-wage workers at Walmart were scrambling to get the pools and patio furniture put out on display. This March, it's been in the 30s and 40s and we're all cranky and achy.***** So, when I turn on TWC this time a year, I'm looking for reassurance that it's someday going to warm up and stay that way.
But what I'm NOT looking for are these weird programs The Weather Channel is airing now. When did they start launching shows like "Storm Stories" and "Ice Road Truckers" and "Thrill-Seeking, Brain-Damaged Idiots In Cars Running From Tornadoes"?****** There is nothing more annoying to me than when I turn that channel on to get my forecast and I am looking at somebody showing us all how to build an igloo in Alaska.
Oh, wait ... there is something more annoying than that.
Who at TWC thought it was a clever idea to name WINTER storms? I'm willing to put up with guys' names being used on hurricanes, but a winter storm named "Saturn" ... are you kidding me? I could go on and on about how bat-crap crazy this makes me, but it's a sunny day******* outside and I need to get going on some yard work. I just looked at the clock, and it's a lot later than I thought.
Good thing I'm not upstairs.
*It always amazes me that people who've known me for years still ask me that question.
**Of course, after I ignore those whispers, the house usually chimes in with, "Get up off your ass, you lazy slacker, and clean out this closet! JUST DO IT!"
***Probably the same souls who plan their meals to correspond with the USDA's food pyramid.
****Of course, these days, we have channels devoted to shopping, home decorating and food preparation, so the weather looks pretty darn exciting next to all that. I keep waiting for the premiere of the PDC (the Paint-Drying Channel).
*****Along with my other five favorite dwarfs, "Snotty, Sneezy, Weepy, Whiny and Pooped."
******Did I get the name right?
******* I think I'll call this one "Fred."