Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has been triggered. She is full of seasonal thoughts about SAVING DAYLIGHT. She writes:

I hope by now you are more or less adjusted to Daylight Savings Time. I have read that it takes as long as a week for our body clocks to recover from “losing” that hour. (Try flying to Israel sometime…about the time your body knows what’s going on, it’s time to fly home.)

As you probably already know, I live in Arizona. Our State Motto is “Whatever the rest of you are doing, we don’t feel like it.” But when I lived in Minnesota, there was many the March social event at which Mr. AG and I showed up half an hour late the day Daylight Savings Time kicked in. And the reason we were only HALF an hour late was because I am routinely half an hour EARLY to everything. To Mr. AG’s dismay and occasional embarrassment. It is not unheard of for our dinner hosts still to be in the shower when we ring the bell.

Sorry. I can’t help it; it’s just the way I was raised. On-time is “late.” Either tell us things start half an hour later than they actually do, or shower earlier. Alternatively, you could simply invite someone less neurotically-prompt.

I realize early arrival can be annoying, but not NEARLY as annoying as perpetual tardiness. I have had to “break up with” a woman friend who routinely left me sitting at various restaurants in the Twin Cities for an hour before she would waltz in with some unsatisfyingly-vague excuse. She was a nice and interesting person, but I find it grotesquely uncomfortable to sit alone, waving off impatient waiters, nursing one tepid drink, memorizing the lunch menu and fending off attractive men who ask if you are waiting for someone.

Okay, not only did that last thing never happen, but this was long before Smartphones, when you have a ready-made companion to fiddle with, not only while you wait, but even long after your lunch date appears. Sheesh! It is common now to see whole families out to dinner, each on his or her own phone, paying no attention whatsoever to each other. Sad.

Meanwhile, back at our topic which, if memory serves me, was saving daylight. As you no doubt know, Arizona does not do DST. The last thing on God’s green earth that Arizona needs from March through October is another hour of blazing sunshine.

This means that now when I wish to speak with my 92-year-old father in Assisted Living in Minnesota, I have an even more difficult time trying to find a time to call. I must be both awake and fully caffeinated. And I must hit that small window when he is not either in the dining room or napping. After just 17 or 18 rings, he hears the phone over Fox News and picks up. He is, thank God, still in possession of all of his faculties and far more articulate than, say, Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters, though admittedly that is a low bar. But he is about as loquacious as Calvin Coolidge was reputed to be. So we have a two- or three-minute conversation about what he ate for breakfast, politics, and the weather, say we love each other and call it a day.

(Bonus Cal Coolidge joke: President and Mrs. Coolidge are at a Country Fair in Iowa. The First Lady’s party is at an exhibit in which there are several chickens and a rooster. The pitchman tries to embarrass the First Lady. “Madame, did you know that the rooster does his duty up to 20 times a day?” She graciously takes it in stride, “Well, I must tell the President.” They move on. Later in the day, the President’s party and Mrs. Coolidge’s group meet up at the same exhibit. Mrs. Coolidge repeats the factoid she has just learned, “Dear, this gentleman says that the rooster does his duty up to 20 times a day.” And without missing a beat, “Silent Cal” asks, “Same chicken?”)

I remember as a kid hearing the farmers expressing great hatred for changing the time twice a year. I know very little about farming except that it’s really hard physical work and I don’t want to do it. I have admiration bordering on awe for those who do. Evidently dairy cows do not automatically get with the program. As a former nursing mother, I get it.

Golfers and country clubs like DST — mothers trying to get kids to bed in the summer, less so. We used to play outdoors until you couldn’t see the ball, which ball depended on the season. For modern children, “the outdoors” is that brief airy space between Mom’s car and the Mall where they can buy the latest games for their phones, computers and electronic devices.

Though I thought Mrs. Obama’s All Kale-All the Time school lunch disaster was misguided, I had a certain amount of sympathy for her “Play 60” initiative in which various celebrity athletes tried to get kids off their lard butts to run around for an hour. It is quite horrifying to contemplate needing a formal program to convince young children to run around and play. But evidently, that’s where we are now.

When I was a kid growing up in the ’50s, we were routinely tossed outside at first light into the elements of whatever season we were in and forced to find our own fun with bikes, skates, jump ropes, hula hoops, toy guns, rocks, and sports equipment, some of it improvised.

We played many death-defying games that, if the Authorities discovered kids playing them today, would cause the parents to be sentenced to reeducation camps or prison: Oh, not just Tag or Dodgeball, which are universally forbidden in every school now. I mean Crack the Whip (long line of skaters going fast, holding hands, with small skater on end learning about centrifugal force.); Red Rover (two lines of kids holding hands, a member from one line running full-speed at weakest link of opposite line. Game ends with first dislocated shoulder); King of the Hill (one person on top of a berm or dirt-pile from new house being built; object is to dislodge that person and occupy hill for brief time. Game ends with first broken collar bone). We won’t even discuss Kill The Man With the Ball.

Daylight Savings Time, in those wonderful endless summers of our childhood, extended the days, and forced our mothers to call us in many more times. Exhausted Moms would employ the nearly-serious “Middle Name Call” – Susan Marie!! — and then, eventually, resort to The Dreaded Plan D – for Daddies calling. Uh-oh. Gotta go!

As painful as it is to lose that hour, don’t worry, it will be back November 4th. According to Wikipedia, despite our best intentions, we never seem to take that luxurious extra hour of sleep. Maybe this year, we can use that extra hour to help get out the vote for the election two days later. Turn that much ballyhooed Blue Wave into a new Red Sea.

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