What time is it? I just woke up, it's still dark out, and I can't remember whether it's an hour earlier or an hour later than it would have been before the time change. Alright, it goes "fall back, spring forward," so even though the clock says it's 5 a.m., it's actually an hour later. This is all so confusing, especially when I haven't had my second cup of coffee yet.
Even so, I feel called upon to set everyone straight about daylight-saving time. Twice a year I have to look it up in my "Associated Press Stylebook." Here we go. It reads, "daylight-saving time. Not savings."
One challenging aspect of daylight-saving time is knowing when you're on it and when you're not. It makes sense to be saving daylight in the winter, when there is so little of it, but that is not how it works. Referring, once again, to the Stylebook, "A federal law, administered by the Transportation Department, specifies that daylight time applies from 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April until 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October."
Maybe the Transportation Department hopes to bottle some of that plentiful summertime daylight, storing it up in mason jars against the dark and cold of the coming winter, but so far this has not been successful.
After a few months of slacking off, I am once again walking every morning, with my friend Jenny.
Well, almost every morning. Walking is pleasant enough once you get your shoes on and make it out the door, and of course the old-fashioned daily constitutional is known to be good for your heart.
I have observed that pedestrian speed tends to decease with age. Children, once they have learned to walk, dart around like deer or rabbits while the elderly just shuffle along as if they have all the time in the world, which, of course, they don't. The elderly also drive very slowly, maddening youthful motorists and causing them to tailgate and finally violate the double yellow line in order to pass.
Personality has something to do with it, too. Some people are incapable of lollygagging or dillydallying. No matter how old they get, they march purposefully down the sidewalk.
I often see young parents running while pushing conveyances called, oxymoronically, jogging strollers. Has anyone thought how this will affect the youngest generation? I fear that a baby accustomed to riding this way will grow up with a nagging longing to be toted from point A to point B by rickshaw, never understanding why.
"Shall we take a cab or ride the bus?" a companion will ask this erstwhile baby, now grown and living in the city, causing him to anxiously scan the streets for an available rickshaw. It is unfortunate that the babies of today are being instilled with the expectation that they are entitled to a "free ride," especially since this mode of conveyance is apparently on its way out. The rickshaw is losing favor, even in Asian countries. By the time the jogging stroller babies of today reach maturity, travel by rickshaw may be merely a picturesque pipe dream.
For now, the babies are still babies, cruising along in jogging strollers powered by their young parents, often followed by family dogs, all of them happy and fit. We'll try not to worry about the future.
On Halloween, Jenny and I walked the Valley Trail in Keene Valley. The morning was damp and chilly, but in the woods we encountered pockets of warm air, balmy patches that caused us to stop in our tracks and throw out our arms.
"Feel that?" we asked each other.
Jenny speculated that, since it was Halloween, the gates of hell were open, letting out these heated blasts along with the spirits of the damned. She was joking, probably, but Jenny was raised Catholic, which gives her an advantage on Christian holidays, even dubious ones like Halloween.
Many children, and adults, too, are probably eating trick-or-treat chocolate for breakfast this week, but not my great-nephews. My sister told me the three boys enjoy learning to cook, and they particularly love sausage.
"What are sausages made of?" William, one of the 4-year-old twins, asked his mother.
"Pork," she said.
"What is pork made of?"
"Pigs!" shouted his 6-year-old brother.
"Pigs," replied William indignantly, "is not an ingredient."
Have a good week.