I will fall asleep at 4:32, on the afternoon of Sunday, November 7.
First, I must transport back 1,195 years into one of my past lives. I was a Scarlet Macaw. A small girl’s captive in a Mayan village long before the Spanish brought smallpox and Catholicism to Pueblo adobe dwellers. My memory returns to my avian existence each year soon after I hear the announcement: “This Sunday at 2am, we all will get back the hour that was snatched early in March.”
So, I return 1,195 years, back to my cage. I watch my capturer weave a tapestry from ferns she had cut earlier that morning. She finishes, then raises them above her head. She reaches my cage, then slowly drops the green curtain. As the last shards of light dim to nothing, my eyes droop and I lose contact with the day.
It’s 4:35 in the afternoon. This proclivity for falling asleep each afternoon, continues for 13 days, until my body clock returns to normal. And I stop getting sleepy as the sun sees the west as a way out of the day.
I don’t like getting that hour back. It makes no sense. I blame the Founding Fathers. Bennie Franklin to be exact. It’s 1783. We visit Mr. Franklin’s bedchamber in Paris. It’s 6am and he stirs awake by sunlight creeping past the damask curtains. The night before he’d dined with a family who spent most of the meal complaining that although rich, not rich enough, they were forced to spend hard-earned coins on candles and whale oil to save off the darkness that dropped after the sun dropped behind Norte Dame.
Bennie has an idea. ”I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o’clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early. I looked into the almanac, where I found it to be the hour given for sun rising on that day. I looked forward, too, and found sun was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o’clock.”
Ben realized that time could not be lost, forgotten, had, spent, or outed. It could be saved – by hand. The sun, and all mankind, however, could be tamed simply by moving the hour hand on a watch. Thus began the Saving of Daylight, one of the cleverest propaganda campaigns in history. He then applied this theory to the Post Office.