Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Iron Curtain

No, this is not a post about the Cold War or about communism. On the contrary, it's about my recent sleep patterns and the inadequacy of the existing curtains in my bedroom.

Lately I've been waking up each morning--Saturdays and Sundays included--at the precise moment--6:08 today--that the sun rises over the ridgeline and shines through my thin curtains and equally thin eyelids. It's not a huge problem--I'd have to get up soon after that anyway most mornings and there is, after all, something virtuous about being up with the sun--but certainly on Saturdays it would be nice to be able to sleep a little later. So, I've been wondering where I could get a piece of the Iron Curtain to replace my flimsy cotton (or polyester or rayon or who knows what) curtains.

What does this have to do with international relations (besides being the pretext for a very lame joke related to the Cold War)? Daylight saving time arrives this Sunday morning to give me an extra hour before the sun shines in my eyes each morning and, more importantly, to give us all an extra hour in the evening to watch baseball, cook out on the grill, read by natural light, and watch more baseball. What, I ask again, does this have to do with international relations?

Daylight saving time saves energy. As a nation, we turn on our lights (and our TVs and other appliances) later each evening and we engage in more outdoor activities that burn body fat rather than fossil fuels. And Americans aren't the only ones. Europeans push their clocks forward a week earlier each year than we do here in the United States.

In today's New York Times, David Prerau argues on the basis of data demonstrating that more evening daylight saves both energy and lives (because traffic accidents and crime are reduced) that we should extend daylight saving time by at least another week or two. I'm all for it--unless it turns out I can get me a piece of that Iron Curtain real cheap.