Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.16.07
Stanstead, Quebec


Spring forward, fall back, grump, grump, grump

Sometimes March comes in like a lamb. Sometimes it comes in like a lion. Usually, though, it just stands at the front door making awkward small talk, letting the cold air in.

March is a transitional month, a shift from winter to spring, snow to mud, complaining to kvetching. It's a gradual thing that in Canada, at least, stretches on and on and on - like the NHL post-season.

But this week's early switch to Daylight Saving Time has been too swift, too jarring. We're not ready. We've come up too soon, the seasonal equivalent of the bends.

As you know (or perhaps you don't know, which would explain why you've been late for everything this week), clocks went forward an hour last Sunday morning. What is an hour? It's not a lot of time.

It's enough time to cook three frozen pizzas in succession. It's an episode of "Deal or No Deal" (not an eternity, as is commonly believed). It's

This is three weeks earlier than normal. Why? Something to do with saving energy, extending daylight hours during the workday, blah blah blah.

I really think it's just the U.S. asserting itself, like a parent imposing an arbitrary rule simply "because I said so."

It's all a big mind game. Sunday, the time went forward, and we spent the day wandering around re-setting clocks thinking, "OK, it's 5:30 now, but it's really only 4:30 but I should start supper, even though I'm not really hungry. I'll have to go to bed an hour 'earlier' than usual if I want to get up at my 'normal' time. And I have to stop talking in 'quotes.'"

Thankfully, this occurred on Sunday when, if we chose to, we could pretend like there was nothing going on, kind of like living through a Quebec election campaign.

But then Monday rolled around. And blech!

I felt physically ill on Monday and I think it had to do with the time change. I was listless, ornery, nauseous, kind of like paying attention to a Quebec election campaign.

Concentration was difficult and I felt I couldn't connect to people, like we were out of sync. Even my work computer was in denial. I kept setting it an hour ahead and it kept setting back. I don't like it when my computer contradicts me. I get enough of that from my kids and the voices in my head.

And I don't think I was alone -- many people I saw weren't themselves Monday. I mean, my teenage daughters were in good moods.

By Monday night, after throwing random piles of food on the table and telling the kids to eat what and when they felt like, I was in bed by 9 o'clock.

Tuesday, I was starting to adjust. I still feel like I'm getting up an hour earlier than usual but luckily I have my good friend caffeine to keep me company in the dark morning hours.

So I have a plan:

If the U.S. Congress can arbitrarily select the date when clocks spring forward (and the rest of its lapdogs follow suit), they (we) can enact a work holiday on the following Monday. We'll call it Sleepy Monday.