10/29/2006 09:49 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fall Back

In principle, I'm against setting back the clocks. Standard time is something that was invented for farmers, it's for people who have to get up with the cows, it's for the reds not the blues, it's for people whose livelihoods are made at the beginning of the day as opposed to those of us trying to reach California after lunch. The day you set back the clocks is the day when it's suddenly dark at four o'clock, when cold weather begins, when you first understand that one year is about to pass into the next - not right away, but eventually, sooner rather than later. I hate these moments. I hate time's winged chariot. Like the moment every summer when the geese begin to fly south, I hate to deal with the fact that soon it will be winter, and soon I will be a year older, and sooner rather than later I won't be here at all.

I've never understood why we persist in setting back the clocks, especially now that there's no argument to be made that we are an agricultural country. Why not just keep setting them ahead? Why not set them ahead once a month? Why not force a completely artificial daylights savings' time on things -- the goal being to make sure that everyone who gets off work around five o'clock would have a few lovely minutes of sunlight before getting home. We could make it up, somehow, at some point. We could have one big clock setting-ahead in the spring, when it's rainy and no one would mind a short day. Couldn't we?

But in the meantime, we have today. The day we set the clocks back. And although I'm against the concept in principle, I have to say that today is the most delicious day of the year. It's the twenty-five hour day. All right, you have to go around the house and change all the clocks, and there are so many of them - even the one on the oven somehow has to be changed. But that leaves a good 57 minutes that's just a bonus, a gift, a delicious way to make things last just a little longer, 57 minutes when you can stay in bed, or catch up on your reading, or watch that thing you Tivo'd, or walk in the park, or see the show at the Met, or go down to 23rd Street for frozen custard. You can do anything at all, you can do nothing at all. And somehow, for today at least, it feels like immortality.