Daylight Sneaking Time

Picture of Missouri School for the Blind busMarcus’ obsession with time punctuated the regular rhythm of my childhood days.

Afternoons looked a lot like this:

Snack at 3 p.m.

Dinner at 6 p.m.

Snack at 9 p.m.

Channel 2 News at 10 p.m.

During the weekdays, Marcus woke up at 7 a.m. sharp, fixed his bed, showered and ate his regular breakfast of a bagel and cream cheese before the bus picked him up at 8 a.m. for his ride to Missouri School for the Blind. He kept a similar schedule on the weekends.

This routine wasn’t mine, but it still guided my world. I knew that if my mom, Marcus and I were at the mall at 2 p.m., we’d either have to prepare to be home by 3 or ready to have a snack wherever we were. If not, Marcus would become edgy — looking and tapping at his watch as the time neared, exclaiming his, “Buh! Buh!” to Mom as he noted the nearing deadline.

When he was a teenager, my mom tried to explain the concept of Daylight Saving Time. But the clock was sacrosanct to Marcus, and any attempt to alter the time in front of him resulted in an eruption of emotion: “No!”

So, Mom got creative.

Marcus smiles

Marcus, left, smiles alongside me, my dad, and great uncle.

Each spring and fall when the time changed, Mom would wait until Marcus was asleep and then change every single clock in the house. Then, she’d sneak into his room while Marcus was asleep and change his watch that he fastidiously kept on his nightstand. How she managed to never get caught was a feat for two reasons: Mom is the most heavy-footed petite woman you’ll ever meet (one of my nicknames for her is “Stompalufugus” for this very reason). Secondly, like many deaf folks, Marcus had a highly developed sense of movement around him, and could feel the vibration of steps from several feet away.

Twice a year, Marcus woke up not knowing any difference — until his first semester at Helen Keller National Center.

HKNC focuses on providing practical education designed to help deaf-blind people reach their highest level of independence. What might seem basic to the average person could be a critical piece of information necessary for autonomy for someone who is deaf-blind.

For Marcus, that was finally understanding the concept of Daylight Saving Time.

In his first visit back for Christmas, he succinctly explained to mom that yes, of course, the clocks fall back or spring ahead.

And Mom thought, “Well, the times, they are a-changin’.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>