"Spring forward, fall back." The guide I learned as a child is the only way I remembered what to do at the end of daylight saving time last Saturday night. Prompted like this, the change is just a simple movement of a few numbers.
The practical effect is so dramatic for an early riser, however, that the whole natural world is overturned. For weeks now I've been getting out of bed in the dark, feeling my way around the bedroom and tripping over the cat.
Once safely in the kitchen and able to switch on the lights, the darkness outside has looked even blacker and more uninviting. I've doled out a quarter cup of Meow Mix for breakfast — the cat's, not mine — and watched her eat with evident relish. (I assume it's roughly the same mixture of ingredients like fish heads and animal entrails as similar brands but we stick with it because its label says, "It's the only meal cats ask for by name" as ours does.)
I have then tottered into the driveway, closing the door ever so quietly, walked to the car terrified of starting the door alarm, remembered that I hadn't got my cellphone, gone back in and on the way back out slammed the door in haste, backed out of the drive in a way that shone the headlights on every bedroom window, waking everyone inside, and thence on to the well-described Palmdale raceway and a different kind of nightmare.
All that changed this week with that innocent movement of numbers. I never use an alarm clock — the word itself captures the jangling shock of being dragged out of a deep sleep — and so my reliable inner timekeeper woke me at what on the morning before was a silly but understandable 5:15 but was now an absurd and indefensible 4:15. (At times in my life, that was the sort of time I got into bed on Sunday morning, not out of it.)
I turned over, dozed, woke again and knew it was impossible to go back to sleep. So, I got up, drove to the trailhead parking, which was empty of course, did the hike in a haze, came home, chewed a bowlful of cereal automatically, and went back to bed.
And so I have a message for those mean Greenwich Mean Time folks: I don't mind springing forward but couldn't we keep it that way all year so a fella doesn't have to worry that his bowl of cereal might have been Meow Mix instead?