Hate is a strong word.
But hate is what I call it when it comes to my relationship with this Saturday when we turn the clocks forward.
It is a hate I have harbored for years, but which is swimming wild this year.
Each year, on a March Saturday (technically Sunday morning), the vast majority of the country, idiotic to acknowledge this human beast called Daylight Savings Time, changes the hour, moving clocks ahead.
Go home, we have created the single most distasteful day of the year.
I don’t even recognize a second.
Do we really need to lose that hour in bed?
Does that somehow make the world spin a bit more efficiently, more happily?
The thought of giving up just one hour of sleep is so anathema to me I spend the days leading up to the weekend making life generally miserable for my wife.
That woman, bless her heart, has enough to deal with living with me the other 51 weeks.
But this week is an annual reminder of just how much above my station I married.
As the week unfolds to Saturday, she more and more eyes the couch in the living room when it comes to telling me it is time for bed.
And, this year just seems the worst.
Among the injuries Hurricane Michael inflicted on me, and I am quite sure just about anybody who will read this sentence, is a feeling that I will never sleep fully again.
Sorry, but I need that hour.
Nothing prepares for this stormy fatigue, a fatigue that falls on the shoulder as if an old sweater … oh, never mind, I no longer have any old sweaters.
We’ll move on trusting the point is clear.
Everybody who experienced Michael comprehends by now “hurricane brain.”
That fallback trope is part of this waltz so many of us are dancing these days.
Never has the phrase “one day at a time” taken on such import and been so liberally tossed around.
What are the choices?
A week or so ago I was talking on the phone to a lovely woman who had some questions about the paper when the conversation turned to how I had fared in the storm.
In the same vein as that old Seinfeld episode where a woman ends each sentence “yada, yada,” after I had briefly explained the total loss of home and belongings, I noted that way too many were in a similar state, ending with “It is what it is.”
In a tone that combined empathy with sternness, she replied that she immensely disliked that phrase and corrected her students each time it came out of a mouth.
I began to offer an apology, but all I could offer was “It is what it is.”
She did try to understand.
So many touched, so many stories with endings left to be written, so much impact and loss.
So many changes.
As retired teacher Carmel Dodson noted in last week’s article about the eagle carved on a snapped tree in her yard, changes, passages, whatever the adjective, are part of life.
Weathering those changes, pun entirely intended, is the substance of life, the grist for the mill.
However, that does not mean we have to enjoy it.
And sometimes, face facts, we don’t navigate all that well.
For instance, I am not a fan of the change in personality that causes me to be anxious and leery at the slightest bit of hard rain and wind; this past Sunday was another sleepless night while Alabama got pounded by tornadoes.
I am no fan of the changes in local eating options; there are great restaurants back open, but one of the beauties of Port St. Joe was always the wide variety to be considered.
Not much of a supporter of the changes in my workouts; breaking-in a new exercise shirt is not a change I saw coming or embraced.
Most of all, though, the rhythms have all just changed, from where you live to what you drive to what you wear.
What was before is, in a host of cases, no more and never will be, no matter how much you wish.
Reporting focused on damages and rebuilding, conversations on human and community outcomes, there is simply a sense that activities each day come against a backdrop lacking sufficient sunshine.
The hope, of course, is that this too shall pass, that one day, just as the sun will shine on consecutive days again, we will no longer be concerned about how our neighbors fared in the storm or are faring in the rebuild.
And that the changes coming will eliminate phrases such as “one day at a time,” “It will be a long road” or “It is what it is” from the everyday vernacular.
That those changes bring ointment, mental, emotional and psychological, to address hurricane brain.
That normal, whatever that may look like down the road, will return and somehow we will all be the better for the changes that disrupted our lives.
Until then I’ll await the weekend to “fall back” later this year.
I am fairly certain that is one change, and one extra hour of sleep, I desperately need.