What’s the point in reading if you don’t get a free pizza?

By Oretta Croushore, Property Manager for Home Rental Services

It’s late September and my computer told me today we had record high temps. My birthday is at the end of the month. Through most of my life, I’ve considered myself to have a fall birthday. In the last several years, it seems it’s more of a summer activity.

Then again, there’s a lot that’s different than it was when I was a kid.

I’m streaming music on Spotify while I write this. 14-year-old me can only dream of this. 18-year-old me dreamed of a world with something akin to Door Dash. I actually invented this in my college dorm. My friend and I didn’t have a car. We wanted a beautiful mix of a gyro and toasted ravioli from the pizza place. (A combo probably only appreciated by a college student.) I suggested that it would be great if one company delivered food from all the places. She laughed at me and told me it would never work. Who’s laughing now? Not me as I wait for my steak dinner and ice cream dessert to be delivered.

From a young age, I learned to spring forward and fall back.

It’s time to change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks. And Yay! We get an extra hour of sleep. Boo, we are losing an hour of sleep. For at least a week in my house, as we adjust, we say things like, “this is the old 6 o’clock.” Don’t forget that awesome feeling of coming to work in the dark and leaving in the dark during the long winter months.

Google says Daylight Savings Time was enacted by the Germans during World War I so there was less usage of artificial fuel for lighting, in order to help the war effort. The US adopted it two years later. But now, the times, they are a changin’. Literally. In March of this year, the Senate passed a bill called The Sunshine Protection Act, which makes daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time, starts November 5, 2023.

I’m not a person who stays on top of all the happenings in the world.

My husband is great at giving me the details of current affairs in a nutshell. I probably get too much of my knowledge of happenings in the world through social media. When I heard the Sunshine Protection Act had been unanimously passed by the Senate, I thought I must be more out of touch than I thought.

We all know nothing happens in government quickly. We’ve seen that bill sitting there on Capital Hill since the 70’s. I figured I must have missed the years and years of work it probably took to get this done. Turns out, it just took the office of a senator from Florida with some clever timing and a good understanding of how much attention fellow senators are paying to day to day workings.

Sen. Marco Rubio brought the Sunshine Protection Act to the floor in that not-so-great week after we spring forward.

Everyone is tired and trying to catch up with the time change. We’re all living in the old something o’clock and not so much in the present o’clock. Sen. Rubio’s office decided to try bypassing the drama that’s usually seen in cases like this by asking for “unanimous consent.” If everyone agrees, the bill passes. If anyone says they oppose, the bill is blocked and has to go through the whole process.

Apparently, everyone asks for unanimous consent but it’s hardly ever given.

When was the last time you were in a group of more than three people and they all agreed on the same restaurant without any debate? The lawmakers typically notify the other senators of their plan to ask for unanimous support. That gives them a feel for the chances of that law going through with no debate. Rubio’s office did this. However, as many of us have come to realize, not everyone reads what is put in front of them. Many senators’ aides either didn’t bring their senator’s attention to the information or decided it wasn’t important enough to bother the senator with. (Not to downplay the job of a senator. I’m sure the amount of emails and documents put in front of them daily is stifling.) If your aide isn’t reading your emails or you are not reading your recaps, things are bound to fall through the cracks. You might not be able to fall back.

Apparently, the committee who presented this act, didn’t really expect this strategy to work. They got lucky. I read a quote from a Delaware senator who said he and his staff had never talked about DST. He admitted he didn’t really know if he had a feeling one way or another on it. Let’s just say the Arkansas senator who is dead set against permanent DST was not spreading sunshine about missing this information.

As is common in our culture, there are people who have strong feelings both ways about this subject.

I feel like the guy from Delaware; I’m not sure I have an opinion one way or another. What caught my attention about this story was the way a lengthy process was bypassed because people just don’t seem to read things anymore. It’s something we talk about among the HRS family a lot. It’s a little disconcerting to see how frequently people sign legal documents they never even look at, much less read. Sure, they are long and boring and full of legalease… But you’re legally bound to everything stated in that document.

It’s unlikely that a person is expected to hand over their fortune or their first born, but you never know until you read the fine print. Contracts aside. We see this in other forms of written communication. I think we are all programmed to skim through emails, trying to pull out the nuggets. The problem is, it’s easy to miss the delicious mashed potatoes if you’re only looking for the meat.

I’m not sure when reading went by the wayside.

Personally, I think it was around the time they stopped offering us personal pan pizzas for all the books we read. Maybe Starbucks will implement a reading incentive plan for adults. Read your lease and answer five questions about it, get a free drink of your choice! It could even be open book. Get a free tank of gas when you complete that really long newsletter the school secretary sends out each week. This might be another DoorDash situation but someone could take this idea and run with it. Incentivize people for adulting! (What I mean is, offer free stuff for doing the hard stuff.)

Incidentally, this writer does not feel the above comments apply to terms and conditions which we are forced to agree with before we can move forward with, well, anything these days. If they expected you to read that, the font would be bigger. Much bigger!

Moral of this story? Read the fine print. And congrats to all on the passing of the Sunshine Protection Act!