What is this whole Daylight Savings Time all about and why can’t we just decide for ourselves when we want to do things? I got curious so I went exploring a bit. But then I get back to Romeo & Juliet and couples’ therapy. Oy!
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Hello, hello. So happy to be here with you guys. Welcome back. It’s a gorgeous fall day, although there’s a mist hanging over the trees this morning, but I love that a little mystery in the midst. Yeah, I got up super early this morning. I’m trying to start a new routine, so I got up at six. I’m up an hour or an hour and a half before the rest of the household, and I think that’s going to be a good thing. I know it seems a little crazy, like a sacrifice to make, but in the wintertime, you go to bed earlier anyway, right? That’s okay. Who cares?
So the light is only just starting to come up, as I’m recording here. And it reminded me that it’s daylight savings. Or the end of daylight savings. How does that work? Is daylight savings the one in the spring? And then daylight savings is finished in fall? It’s always confusing to me, you know? Like, why did they do this to us? So I had to go and look it up, of course. But we fall back into a quietness, a sleep, a rest that the winter gives us, we get an extra hour. So this is the time of year where we have one 25-hour day. That’s so cool, you know, I know it’s a theory theoretical concept, but it’s also cool. What would you do with an extra hour? A whole extra hour? Sure, it’s an illusion, but let yourself go with that for a moment, right? With one extra hour let’s see… I could write another episode, yay. I could get a manicure, I could go for a walk. I could clean out the fridge, do those kinds of tasks that prep the home for winter. Time to stack wood, shift my seasonal wardrobe… If I was in my own house, I would be doing that for sure. Since it’s been so warm up until now, I’m only just now getting out the winter coats and the big socks and the sweaters and all of that stuff. Which I found that I don’t actually have right now, because I think my mindset this past spring was ‘I am never doing winter again, so I’m going to throw out all winter clothes.’ Yes, a little reckless, a little crazy, but whatever… That’s okay. I got a new winter coat. It’s lightweight, and it’s wonderful.
What else? Oh, I hung a bird feeder. Because that seemed to me sort of a preparation for the wintertime. I hung it for the cat that I told you about yesterday, Aphrodite, because she hangs out by the big sliding glass windows in the living room and she just stares out at the squirrels and the birds. So I thought oh, what the heck, I’ll attract more birds and make it a whole pretty thing. That’ll be nice. And for me sitting in the living room. I love watching the birds. I spent a whole afternoon one time with my friend Gail just sitting and watching her bird feeder. And her bird feeder had been around for a very long time, so many, many different kinds of birds came there. That was so nice.
What else would I do with an extra hour? I would read! I’ve found that since I got home back to my mom’s house and I’m not traveling anymore, I’m not reading as much. I started The Hobbit before I came back, and it’s going very slowly now. I haven’t read it in 20 years, you know, and it was just such a wonderful book to pick back up. I got a little tiny copy of it in Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, and I can carry it around with me in my purse. It’s literally a pocket book. Yeah.
So in any case, I just thought this year with that extra hour, I wanted to make a conscious choice to actually say I’m spending one hour doing X because I can and because I have one more hour today. So think about that.
I was prompted to look up daylight savings time history because it does seem such an arbitrary and strange thing to me. I found out some cool things which I’m going to share with you because I like to do that. Back in Roman times, they used something called water clocks, which apparently had different scales for different months. They would call the hours ‘the third hour from sunrise’ instead of three o’clock or whatever, and in different months they would be longer. So you could have like a 75-minute hour, as opposed to a 45-minute hour, in a shorter month. It was very crazy. I don’t even know how they figured out. The Romans, man. Whoa. And then, of course, Ben Franklin is credited with this whole thing. But it’s not true, he did not propose exactly daylight savings time. What he did do was tell the French that they could save on candles by getting up a little earlier, and going to work when there was daylight and, you know, not burning so many candles to work later in the evening. But the concept of Daylight Savings Time wouldn’t actually be regulated until 150 years later.
It actually started with World War One, interestingly enough, with the Standard Time Act of 1918. And the slogan was: “set the clock ahead one hour and win the war!” It was because they were saving on domestic coal (you know, people burning coal at home) so that they could use it for the war effort. That only lasted about seven months. And then they reinstated it during World War Two for the same reason. But after the war, they let (and ‘they’ by the way is the United States – globally, it’s enormously confusing) they let people choose different things all over the globe. And at that time, local governments were allowed to choose also in the United States, they could just decide for themselves. So I would imagine that led to chaos. I don’t know. Because you know, okay. Rockland County has decided we’re gonna adopt daylight savings time, but maybe Orange County decides they don’t. So like you’re crossing county lines, and you don’t even know what’s going on and your time clock is off…
And I was astounded to realize that it’s still being debated worldwide and changed and tweaked. Have you noticed that Daylight Savings happens a week later more recently? I think I only noticed that this year. Maybe it is brand new? But apparently this was due to a lobby by the National Association of Convenience Stores. First of all, that’s just too specific. But anyway, why? Why do the convenience stores care about Daylight Savings Time being later in the year? And then I thought, “Is it Halloween? Is it to give people a little extra time to quick run to the convenience store and buy that candy that they forgot to buy?” Geez! I don’t know. It’s really nuts. Even now, some states just completely reject it – like Arizona. But apparently within Arizona, the Navajo nation does adhere to daylight savings time. So that’s crazy.
But apparently recently, the Senate made a unanimous approval to make it permanent for the whole country by November of 2023. Now, I guess we should call that a blessing that the Senate can actually completely agree on something! I guess that’s good. But why is so much legislative time wasted on this? Why aren’t human beings allowed to choose for themselves? What would be the harm if I, a store owner decided to open my store at 7am? And another guy decided to open his store at 10am and work into the darkness? Who cares? Who cares? We consumers would just learn that x store is open at seven o’clock. Isn’t that great? I could go get my apothecary goods, or whatever, early in the morning. Or the dog food stores aren’t open until 10. So what? So what! So what. In a small and strange way, I feel like this is part of the same basket as Roe v. Wade, because it’s the government deciding what is best for our internal individual rhythms and internal clocks, instead of us being able to decide for ourselves. Instead of farmers being able to decide for themselves, they have to somehow adhere to a national rule when they’re all opposed to it. So I don’t know. I think we should make our own choices.
For my part, I choose to use my extra hour consciously in my own way. Get up early and tell a story. So to that end, I’m going to tell you a little bit more about my fall of 2002. Boy, it’s dragging on! But at the end of 2002 there was just romance swirling in the air all over the place. You know? Yes, granted, I was directing Romeo and Juliet for the first time. And you think that because there was already romance and my life, swirling and getting exciting, that it would be the perfect time to do a beautiful romantic play. But I have to tell you, I have done Romeo and Juliet four times now in 21 years, and I have never found the experience to be light, and lovely and romantic. Somehow, the strife of the play always seems to rise to the surface more than the love of the play. So I don’t think it’s a romance story. I think it’s a story of violence. And I have experienced violence and conflict, working with actors, with the exception of maybe one time. Well, one time the actors were wonderful, and then the parents were not wonderful. They stepped in and disrupted the process and complained about things. So I guess you can’t have it all.
But in this Romeo and Juliet that I was directing in the fall of 2002, I had two sets of lovers, as I mentioned earlier, because just in case someone got sick. So I did rehearse them interchangeably. So you know, Romeo A might go with Juliet B one time, so that they got used to each other and such. But one set of Romeo and Juliet who rehearsed together most of the time were not getting along, at all. It was so strange and awkward. And I finally had to actually sit them down for Romeo and Juliet therapy. Yeah. I had to sit them opposite each other and just ask them to be as honest as they could, and talk about what their issues might be. It turned out that the girl had never been kissed. Now, okay, she was only 12. I think she was 12. And that’s reasonable to say, Okay, I’ve never been kissed, (you know, kids these days move a little quicker). But she didn’t want her first kiss to be with this boy. Because I had told them that kissing was part of the play. And I had asked them in auditions if they were going to be okay with that. And they were like, “Oh, yes, yes, yes…” But of course, in auditions, when the stakes are high, people agree to whatever, right. But I asked them, and they had agreed, and we all knew that that was going to come up sooner or later. And I was for let’s do it sooner, because then it just becomes part of your blocking, right? We say this thing, you say, “I’m going to kiss you,” and you do it, and it just becomes part of what happens during the play. But she really, really didn’t want her first kiss to be with this boy during rehearsal. And she was making it into this momentous, huge, giant thing. So I was trying to tell her that, listen, the first kiss is perhaps going to be a little awkward no matter who or where you are, so maybe we could say it doesn’t have that much importance. Or is it possible that there’s someone else you like that you could just get that first one out of the way somehow? So it was very funny, and he was feeling all of that awkwardness and feeling rejected by her because she kept pulling away from him every time they came in to do those more intimate scenes. So Romeo and Juliet therapy was my fall of 2002. But I got a spur of romance for myself that I then brought to the kids, which would turn out to be just kind of the medicine that they needed. And I’ll tell you about that one next time. All right. See you then bye bye.