Friday, June 17, 2011

Nighttime is best in summer

Here in San Antonio this June, the daytime is scorching.  On Monday a man got up at 7am to start pouring concrete for his sidewalk.  By 1pm, he was dead in the hundred degree heat.  The prospects for the even hotter months of July and August don't look good.  The La Nina weather pattern is likely to bring little rain.  Yes of course I believe Global Warming is making this worse than usual, and the cresting of the solar cycle isn't helping either.

But at night it gets quite pleasant.  Even just after the sun goes down at 9pm it's quite nice to take a mile walk (as I try to do every night).  By 12 midnight, the temperature is around 80 and it's quite nice even to work on yard.  Even ignoring the temperature, the lack of scorching sun makes the outdoors tolerable.

The Folklife festival moved from August to June to help mitigate the heat.  It didn't help much.  But I had a great time at the festival for just one hour between 10pm and closing at 11pm.  I even had to walk a mile and a half to park, but it wasn't difficult at all.

Which all makes me wonder, why are we now working and playing mostly at night and sleeping during the day?  The latin american civilizations have all operated more like that, with the famous "siesta", though I'm not sure even they took it far enough.

I think it's the scourge of anglo culture.  "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."  Well tell that to the man who died pouring his concrete sidewalk.

I call this "earlyism," and I believe the thing that sustains it mostly is subservience to power.

It doesn't take long for a worker to realize that business is not mainly about production.  It's about power.  And the way workers show their subservience to power is serving at the whim of the powerful, no matter how harsh or unnecessary the rituals.  So we have the work days that start at 7am (or, if you wish, you can start "flextime" at 6am or 5:30).  It's not really about getting anything more done, it's about sacrifice.

As long as we're caught in that trap, we'll never have sensible hours.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure that is true what you say about power, Charles. Otherwise, employers would at least let people have a mid-day nap if they need it. On the other hand, some of us naturally wake up early and enjoy the early morning coolness. After about 10am, that's over and it is inside until the evening. The, like you say, it is decent again for a while.