We’re never getting rid of Daylight Saving Time.

And that’s good.

Fie to all who want the sun to fade at 8 at summer’s peak. I’d be fine with ending the switch, as long as we keep that glorious ration of golden evenings in June. But even if we hate to fall back, we must admit it brings out something special in the Minnesota heart: bleak stoic fatalism.

Somehow, we deserve this.

You always think: “Now begins the deep, dark time. A time when the gloom gathers its cloak about our heads a’fore the strike of 5, and the night whistles down, a silent crow with eyes of ice.”

OK, I’m not a poet. But that’s how we see it up here: the start of the long sentence. The end of DST is like a cell door clanging shut, and you call to the jailer: “I want to see the warden of spring!” And he says, “I thought this was like a crow, and now it’s prison doors? You’re mixing your metaphors.” And you say, “They’re analogies!”

I’m drifting off the topic, but you get the idea. We tell ourselves that we can get past the harsh start, amuse ourselves with holidays, wait for the day when the days start to get longer. But we never really notice the extra minutes, even as they accumulate. Come spring, we notice that the days are not only longer, but better, and when DST kicks in, it’s like getting a free car right after you got a free house.

This year is different, sure. We went straight to peevish early winter during a time when we should have been savoring the last days of Joyful Apple and Tree Admiration Time. We’ve been whipped into the winter mind-set ahead of schedule.

Also, there’s no schedule anymore. The people who’ve been working at home for months are often confused what day it is, and now they can be confused what time it is. But we’ll adjust, as we always do.

If there were any appetite for getting rid of DST, it would have been slipped into one of the enormous all-purpose bills passed by Congress this year. Who’d know?

Wait a minute: How do we know it wasn’t banned? There could’ve been one junior legislative assistant who put it in the bill between pages 1,293 and 1,295. This was the pinnacle of his life’s work. He’d hated DST since he was a kid. “It was just wrong!” he told himself. “Mankind cannot control time! If it is 10 a.m. one day, and 24 hours later it’s 9 a.m., nothing is for certain! It means the entire fabric of civilization was a lie.”

At first he thought of creating a protest movement, complete with slogans: “Hey hey, ho ho, DST has got to go!” Or: “Whose clocks? Our clocks!” And, “This is what Chronology looks like!” But then he decided it would be better to work within the system. He buttonholed members of Congress and talked to reporters. But it was always the same: Whenever he started talking about his opposition to DST as an affront to time Integrity, people started looking at their watches. He was talking about time, after all, but this wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for.

So he slipped it in an omnibus bill, and Congress voted. For all we know, DST has been revoked, and we’ll only find out next summer when the sun starts setting early. “Oh, DST? That ended in 2020. Why? Because of COVID.”

At this point, we’d nod, wearily. Oh right, of course. Everything changed. Do we fall forward now?

 

james.lileks@startribune.com