Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Protecting our right to sleep late

        My husband calls it Laura Standard Time, referring to my alarm clock, which is 39 minutes faster than he thinks it should be. He pretends he doesn't understand. This might be one of those gender-related characteristics — such as knowing about head gaskets and power tools but not knowing you shouldn't wash a maroon sweat shirt with the white clothes.

        Or maybe it's because he is a morning person. Cheery before 8 a.m. Exercising at dawn, when the very best exercise is briskly pulling the covers over your head. Sometimes morning people do not even need an alarm. They just wake up “naturally.” Waking up — getting up — before 6 a.m. when you don't have to is about as unnatural an act as I can imagine.

        It's just very sick.

        As are alarm clocks themselves. Bells, buzzers, Klaxons. The day should begin with my mother's voice saying, “Honey, it's time to get up. Your breakfast is getting cold.”

        I tried using a clock radio but experienced flu-like symptoms when I awoke one morning to William Shatner singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. And a very disturbing dream in which I was having Paul Anka's baby. Besides, I don't want to risk starting the day with Eminem or Britney Spears.

Battling the bird

        A friend gave me a clock with an alarm that chirps like a bird. When you hit the snooze bar, the bird shuts up for nine minutes. So I set my clock ahead by nine minutes. When the bird thought it was 5:30 a.m., it was really only 5:21. This felt so good that I set the clock ahead another half hour and set the alarm for 6:00, instead of 5:30.

        That way, I can hit the snooze alarm. Get up at 6 a.m., and still be in the shower by 5:31. I explained this to my husband. Who pretended not to understand but guessed it is something like cheating at solitaire.

        I have pointed out to him that I am not the only one who plays games with time. Once a year, Congress takes away an hour of sleep and calls it Daylight Saving Time. All summer long, I get up an hour earlier than is necessary.

        It's like mandatory jet lag.

Playing with time

        But now I have my hour back, and there's a sensible movement afoot to get rid of Daylight Saving Time before next spring. A group of — well, they like to call themselves activists, but I suspect they are just not morning people — want to keep the hour we just got back.


        A Web site (www.standardtime.com) offers the chance to sign a cyber petition to end Daylight Savings Time. Or at least quit playing games with it and cut the national time zones from four to two.

        “Eastern standard time is the same as Central Daylight Time and Mountain Standard Time is the same as Pacific Daylight Time,” the petition reads. “Thus, we propose that the Pacific and Central time zones remain on permanent Daylight Saving Time and that Mountain and Eastern time zones remain on permanent standard time.”

        People traveling or doing business between the east and west coasts will have to adjust to only a two-hour time difference.

        A woman by the name of Sheila Danzig of Sunrise, Fla., (in the Eastern time zone) came up with the idea. The men in her life are probably still trying to sort this out. But I understand perfectly. I would get another hour of sleep all summer.

        Plus the normal 39 minutes.

        E-mail lpulfer@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/pulfer.


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