I love Florida.
Though I spent the first 32 years of my life in the Northeast, I grew up vacationing every other year in Daytona Beach, where my grandparents lived a short walk from the "World's Most Famous Beach." It was wonderful.
When we first considered moving here, however, I was hesitant, full of the anti-Southern prejudice that is the sea in which Northeasterners swim. Not that Florida is Deep South—we have too many immigrants from every state and myriad countries for that—but it took me a few years not to automatically associate a southern accent with ignorance and prejudice. But life has a way of bringing humility, and now I treasure the Sunshine State and its people, defending them ardently against those (northern) folks who say our state is crazy.
Now I wonder if they were right all along. This week, Florida did a crazy thing.
Crazier even than the state constitutional amendment mandating correct treatment of pot-bellied pigs. (Not necessarily a bad idea in itself, but very bad as a change to the Constitution.)
Our legislators voted to remain on Daylight Saving Time all year. Thank goodness, it requires an Act of Congress to put that into effect, but Congress has shown it is not immune to Crazy, and Florida legislators have now trumpeted their madness to the world. Overwhelmingly. Democrats and Republicans. Bipartisan lunacy.
They hope to start a movement that other states will follow and force Congress to act in their favor.
Florida has just fired the first shot in a Civil War reenactment, from the Yankee side.
I completely understand why people living in the North like Daylight Saving Time. Living for 18 months in Boston, much further north than Orlando and on the eastern edge of the time zone to boot, made me realize why New Englanders appreciate the time change, in both directions. But here in Florida, much closer to the equator, our seasons are more nearly constant, and changing the clocks is more annoying than useful.
If America were to stay on Standard Time all year, I would like that. Let noon be the time when the sun is highest overhead (or as close as time zones will allow) and be done with it. But to stay on Summer Time year 'round? Let's not mock Mother Nature more than we must.
I always admired—though never emulated—our daughter's steadfast determination not to change her clocks away from "real time" but make in her head the necessary adjustment to the crazy world. But if the Florida legislature had voted to stay on Standard Time year 'round, I would still oppose it, unless the rest of the country followed suit. Aren't we divided too much already, without having to suffer a time change while crossing the Florida-Georgia border?
I wouldn't blame the Bostonians if they objected to year-'round Standard Time. I'd prefer it myself, but will put up with the semi-annual changes for their sake. But Daylight Time forever? Never! I'm frustrated enough that they have extended the weeks of DST, putting us out of sync with Europe.
And even in Boston, do we really need DST any more? We fool ourselves with idyllic pictures of children in their backyards, kicking around a ball in the extra hour of evening sun. But is that how most of us improve that shining hour? Aren't we, and our children, much more likely to be inside staring at a screen?
In any case, if we go on DST and never return, we will have permanently lost an hour of life. Today I grudgingly suffered a 23-hour day, filled with the hope of receiving a 25-hour day in the fall. I want my hour back!