¿Qué hora es?
The closer you are to the Equator the less the difference between the hours of daylight on July 21 and December 21. Here in Mazatlan it’s only an hour and twenty minutes difference, and most of Mexico lives even closer to the Equator, so changing our clocks twice a year never made much sense. Maybe in the far north, along the U.S. border it sort of does, but there it has more to do with not confusing the gringos who are likely miss their appointments with their cut-rate dentists, than anything else. The Baja always did observe Daylight Savings Time, but they’ve always kowtowed to the other California anyway, and kept their clocks on the time of the other California. Sonora — where businesses have to deal with Arizonans (more’s the pity) — they didn’t, because Arizona didn’t.
In 1996, most of the country adopted daylight savings time… following the international standard of moving clocks ahead the first Sunday in April, and turning back an hour the last Sunday in October. Except Mexico City, which held out until 2001… partly because then Jefe de Gobierno Andres Manuel López Obrador (an early riser if ever there was one) saw no reason to adjust his biological clock (or force reporters to change theirs) for his 5:30 AM daily press conference, or… as he playfully suggested… concern for the psychological well-being of the working class: working long hours and facing long commutes, Mexican workers are just too exhausted by the time they get home to do more than have a meal, maybe watch some TV, and go to sleep. But, early to bed and early to rise has a slightly different meaning in Mexico… A good night’s sleep and one is ready for “el manañero”, the early morning … er… fulfillment of one’s conjugal duties. Going to daylight savings time, López Obrador argued, would mean workers didn’t have the time to properly prepare themselves for the day, and well, who knows what might happen if some arbitrary intervention on behalf of the ruling classes and the gringos were to trample on the traditional values and simple pleasures of the Mexican working classes?
The López Obrador administration lost that one … the Supreme Court finally weighed in with a ruling that regardless of the benefits of some morning nookie, the Federal Government had the right to regulate time zones… and with the Mexican workers screwed out of potential screws, the U.S. decided to change the dates they spring forward and fall back… screwing up the whole screwy system.
When the United States arbitrarily changed the start and end dates for Daylight Savings Time in 2007, the Baja did too, and in 2009, a tier of northern border cities did, too. Sonora still doesn’t change their clocks at all, and although it is part of the State of Nayarit (which observes Daylight Savings Time), neither does the penal colony on Islas Marias (what for? Everybody there is doing time, so what difference does an hour make). Just to make things weirder, the Revillagigedo Archipelago, as part of the State of Colima keeps to Colima Time and despite less than an hour’s difference between the hours of daylight throughout the year, springs back and falls forward for no earthy reason other than that’s the way it’s done in Colima: except for the less than dozen sailors who make up the garrison on Isla Clarión, the western-most island in the Archipelago, live at UTC -8 (Pacific Standard Time) year round. Meaning, Mexico has three half the year, and four half the year. And frustrated workers in Mexico City.
The only reason I bring all this nonsense up is that while I remember to change the clocks around the house and most of my software packages can automatically follow the international standards (though for a time, there was a problem with software that presumed the weird U.S. way of doing things was the way everybody did it), WordPress doesn’t automatically change time at all… and I usually forget. I only thought of it earlier this evening (er, last night now), when somebody in the U.S. mentioned something about not forgetting to “fall back”. Which I did last week. And I fixed tonight… though I’m not sure why.