Q: Is it time to rethink the sun-up to sun-down schedule in San Antonio?

A: During the hot months of the year here in San Antonio, the outdoors are pleasant about 6 hours a day.  The early morning is pleasant from about 5am until 9:00am.  Then, it gets too hot to do much of anything outside until about 9pm.  Yet we keep insisting on doing much of our days during this remarkably unpleasant sunny, hot period.  While this schedule (and the western-style business suit) may be entirely sensible in London or Tokyo, it makes very little sense here on the surface of Mercury (AKA South Texas).

In Spain, they deal with this same heat problem by working around it.  Spaniards include a daily, heavy early afternoon meal followed by a “siesta” during the hottest part of the day.  They sleep away the unpleasant period of the day and wake refreshed and ready to finish the day when it’s most pleasant — late into the evening.  In many parts of Spain, restaurants don’t even open until 10pm with patrons only arriving in earnest around 11pm.

Besides the purported health benefits of a siesta-based schedule and an interesting return of our town towards its Spanish cultural roots, the greatest argument for a siesta schedule is a practical one:  When was the last time you can remember truly having fun during the scorching period we have from 4pm-6pm each day?  If you’ve been outside, this is the period when your day gets unpleasant by the pool.  Or, you’re stuck in your car with screaming kids and the a/c just won’t get it under 90 degrees.

Perhaps it’s time for us to rethink the ideas that we inherited from the English regarding a normal work day and go back to our Spanish roots?  How great would it be to have the norm be outside eateries under the stars and it actually be comfortable to walk on errands?  Or, to just walk from the car to the store without losing 2 lbs of water weight by sweat?

We have a chance with the changing of work forces towards a more creative based economy.  Let’s do this.

Michael Girdley