Time is a construct. Or at the very least, the ways in which we tell time are just literally made up. Which means one glorious thing: freedom. California-level freedom. The kind of freedom I want in my own life. The kind of freedom that will give me a precious extra hour of daylight to do the one thing on this Earth that gives me unfettered joy: hiking with my dog.
On Tuesday, the Golden State voted in favor of Proposition 7, which could permanently institute Daylight Saving Time in the state, should the state legislature vote to do so. If that happens, California residents would no longer voluntarily plunge themselves into darkness earlier than necessary each fall, like the rest of us saps are forced to do. (Note: Most people in Arizona, the wise state that it is, just ignore the whole thing and never change their clocks.)
Now, some people, including my colleague Alex Cranz and nearly 2.7 million California residents, think permanent Daylight Saving Time is a bad idea. They are all wrong. Not only that, but I suspect they may all hate dogs, the only truly pure beings on this planet.
My life, you see, is largely dominated by my two dogs and the many other doggy visitors who land at the Couts compound. Jennifer, my wife, works at a guide dog school, where she runs the adoption program for all the puppies and young dogs who don’t make it as guides, as well as the ones who do but are now retired. This means we often have a lot of dogs and puppies at our house. And there is nothing worse than a pack of energetic dogs and not even a moment of daylight to get them some illuminated exercise after work during dark winter months.
Surely I’m not alone in this sentiment. Research shows that Americans collectively spent roughly $69 billion on their pets in 2017. And more than 43.3 million U.S. households have dogs as pets as of 2012, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. What, are you going to tell me those tens of millions of people don’t want an extra hour of daylight after work to walk their pups?
Even if you’re not an absurd dog person like me or Jennifer, you still have to support permanent Daylight Saving Time (which, by the way, should just be called Daylight Savings Time since that’s what everyone thinks it’s called anyway, including Cranz). Why? Ending Daylight Saving Time may be linked to an uptick in violent crime, for one: According to a 2017 study published by the Journal of Experimental Criminology, the number of assaults in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia jumped an average 3 percent between 2001 and 2014 on the Monday after America rolled back its clocks.
Switching the clocks around also contributes to a greater number of traffic accidents, kids may get more exercise when there’s more sunlight later in the day, the number of robberies may decrease, and the economy could get a boost. As Proposition 7 supporters argue, switching the clocks costs California alone an estimate $434 million a year in lost productivity—expanded to the entire U.S., that’s, like, 1/10th a Jeff Bezos fortune or something. Whatever, I suck at math.
Sure, permanent Daylight Saving Time would suck for people who like to get up early (but let’s be honest, dogs don’t want to be part of your crack-of-dawn obsession). And Daylight Saving Time probably doesn’t offer big reduction in energy costs, as some have claimed. Aaaaaaannnd it might cause a few more people to have heart attacks and boost the frequency of workplace injuries. Which is exactly why we should “lose” that hour just one last time and be done with it. That heart attack stuff will sort itself out, I promise.
The point is I want to not get killed by a sleep-deprived maniac. I don’t want to get run over. I want to walk my dog with even a glimmer of daylight left in the winter months. Now that we have a newly elected bipartisan Congress, the first thing on their agenda should be to change the federal law that makes switching our clocks mandatory so California and eventually the rest of us can put an end to this madness.