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Short Summer Nights 


Arizona time

Another reason winter is my favorite season here

One and a half. That is the number of summers of my life that I’ve been able to enjoy long nights. For those of you who read Kristen’s post with the promise that I’m going to be pro-Daylight Saving Time, you might be a bit disappointed. We actually conclude with basically the same point.

point counterpoint

Illustration by zentilia • Fotolia • Edited by Kristen Stieffel

Why am I so “pro” daylight saving time (DST)? Mostly because I want to “fit in.” More than 41 years of my 43 years have been spent in places that don’t observe DST. I grew up in Indiana in the literal dark ages. We went on “Illinois time” (Central time) in the summer, which meant we were deprived of long summer nights. In the winter, we were on Eastern time which meant our TV programs were an hour later so that we were lucky to be able to see an hour of prime time before we had to go to bed.Fortunately, Indiana came to its senses and went on Eastern Time. The only people griping are uptight soccer moms who put their kids to bed at 6:30 when it’s still midday. My response is loosen up and let them play. It didn’t kill our generation.

I spent not quite two years in a normal location (Ohio) before moving to Arizona with the most messed up time situation that is only worse when you live three hours east of Phoenix. For those of you who have seen that YouTube video about moving someplace magical to avoid DST, you are about to get a rude awakening to the the literal dark side of living in Arizon.

I am a night owl and have gone to bed as the sun has started peeking over the horizon–at 4:00 a.m.! I’m sorry but sunrise at 5:00 is insane unless you’re a construction worker or an old person. I mean really, who gets up at that hour? Well, I mentioned the two populations. The first population only because of this ridiculous time zone.

This where I am in agreement with Kristen. If we just shifted our time zones one zone east, we’d all be in good shape. Kristen pointed out the sun rises when the sun rises. If we went on Mountain time like New Mexico, Arizonans would have a reasonably sane 6:00 sunrise and sunset at 9:30. That’s right, it’s DARK by 9:00 all summer long in Arizona. I live in the mountains, so we want light for the prime of our days.

But even in Phoenix and Tucson, it’s not like people are toiling at 9:00. Yes it’s hot but most people are either in their air conditioned homes or have access to swimming pools. I lived there for 11 years and never grew sick of the heat, this included doing labor intensive field work in July and August, so it’s not like my experience was a rarefied suburban existence.

For my husband and me it’s even worse. He does work on the Navajo Nation and in New Mexico, which means in the summer, he often has to leave super early to compensate for the time zone differential. Most of my colleagues live east of me, which is why I’ve experienced multiple glimpses of 4 a.m. sun. I have to stay up late because getting up early isn’t an option when I’m 1-3 hours behind most of the country. My husband and I happily anticipate “Fall back day” and dread “Spring Forward” with equal passion. In conclusion, I agree with Kristen’s plan with one caveat, we join with the other Four Corners states (Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico) and shift one time zone east.


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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