She Lights Up My Life
My wife has never met a light she doesn’t want to leave on. There, I said it. To be fair, and to prove the old axiom that opposites attract, I can be more than obsessive when it comes to turning lights off. My dear wife and kids can easily recite many instances where I’ve left a room with them still in it and unthinkingly turned out the lights, leaving them in the dark.
How bad is my inner conservationist? Let’s just say I’ve even been known to turn off left-on lights in other peoples’ homes that I visit. Don’t hate me. It’s part of my DNA.
As the dutiful son of an electronics engineer – a painfully practical, frighteningly frugal man whose first words to us kids were, “Turn the light off!” (followed closely by “And shut the #@@%# door!!”) – the sight of a light left on in an unoccupied room raises my blood pressure and triggers a series of odd facial tics until it’s switched off.
That said, if I represent the “dark” side of energy conservation, my wife is a bright and shining beacon of brilliance. For instance, if you’ve ever seen the huge tunnel of high-intensity lights used by auto body shops to quick-dry new paint on a car, you have some idea of how much light my dear bride uses while getting ready for work every morning. Her alarm is set for 5 a.m. Edison adds an extra shift of personnel at 5:05. Coincidence? Hardly.
I keep a large, extra-thick pillow by the side of my bed for the sole purpose of covering my eyes when she fires up the stadium lights. Our neighbors installed blackout shades on the side of their house that faces ours. I swear you can see plants and flowers turning towards the light radiating from our house every morning. Planes on approach to LAX have been known to mistakenly divert towards our house.
And another thing. I have this goofy idea that you should walk into a dark (“dark” being the operative word) room, turn the light on, do your business, then turn the light switch off when you leave. Simple, right?
My wife and at least one of our kids not only seem to think that a light needs to be turned on whether or not daylight is streaming into the room, but should be left burning when you leave and go about your business elsewhere.
For example, in our dressing room (aka: the industrial paint drying chamber), there are four separate light switches. One for the light in our walk-in closet on one side of the dressing room, another for the overhead light fixture in the dressing room itself. There’s another switch for the bathroom on the opposite side of the dressing room, and finally, a switch for a row of brighter “makeup” lights directly over the mirror above our sink.
Being a guy, I walk in to brush my teeth or shave and, if it’s dark, I turn on the overhead light. Period. My wife, on the other hand, can walk into the room at high noon in August and – flip! flip! flip! flip! all four switches are turned on in a nanosecond like a pilot preparing for takeoff in the cockpit of a 747. Even the light in the closet gets turned on. The closet with the door closed.
Hours later, long after she’s gone, I can walk through the dressing room to find the lights still on. And yet, somehow, no matter where she is, she’ll sense that I’ve turned them off. She’s called me from her cellphone to tell me she in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t finished doing whatever she was doing under all those megawatts of lightage and was coming back.
Silly me. I should’ve known.
I do know one thing, however. Whatever couch I sleep on tonight will likely be in a really, really dark room.
I’ll see you ’round town.