Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fiat Lux


Fiat Lux. That was the motto for my college, where "Liat Fux" was a perennial graffito. It should have been Dave's motto: let there be light. Dave's a huge fan of the light. He's a switch flicker. We go back and forth on this. He'll go through the house flicking on light switches and leaving them on as he leaves the room. It's as though he has this huge personal halo effect. I, on the other hand, prefer to bring darkness upon the face of the deep.

It's not just that I turn off the lights when I leave the room. If I enter a room that has a light on, I judge it has already had plenty enough light already. I give the room a quick once-over and then turn off the light, and then enter it. I know where I'm going. The bed is over there, the closet is to the right, and one more turn will bring me to the potty. Who needs light? If I'm going to check the front door lock before I go to bed, I'll creep through the darkened room until I can feel the door handle. It wouldn't take much to pop on the light, check the door handle, and turn the light off again, but I never do it.

So whenever we leave the house of an evening, we have this duel. Dave turns on the hall light and the basement light and maybe one or two lamps in the living room. His reasoning is that people will think we're home and they won't bust in and steal our TV. Plus it won't be all dark when we get home. Seriously? I say. We need to have the lights on for three days just so we don't have to feel our way three feet to a light switch when we come home? What, do you think electricity just comes pouring out of the walls? (There is some evidence for that.) Here's the real scoop. If you come upon our house at night and the lights are on, we're not home. If NO lights are on, I'm home alone. If the kitchen is aglow with
We ain't home.
the light from two open refrigerators, Dave's home alone. If you knock, he'll totally make you a sandwich.

He will. I should be fair. There is another element to Dave's urge to illuminate. He has a fine consideration of the needs of others, and a broad notion of who those Others might be, and they might include resident chocolate Easter bunnies he couldn't bear to chew the ears off of, various of Tater's toys, and certainly Pootie, for whom he will leave the TV on if the Lakers are going to be playing, after making sure it's on the right station. When he turns out a light, he can sense that somebody somewhere is going to be disappointed.

So one night I went upstairs to put on my jammies. The bedroom was dark. This is not a problem, because I know where I'm going. I take three steps into the room and suddenly there's a horrible clatter and shriek and I'm on the floor with a big stick jammed in my abdomen. I'm pretty sure I'm mortally wounded. There's an exploded spleen in there, or a mashed gall bladder, or a grievous intestinal intrusion. I roll on my side and probe for blood and eventually I decide I'm going to live after all. There is a chair on its side next to me. I had tipped it over and fallen belly-first onto the leg of it in one motion. I hobble downstairs clutching my gut and briefly explain the incident. And we're both paralyzed.
There's blame all over the place and nowhere to assign it. Dave has left a chair under the smoke alarm from having changed the battery. If I had flicked on the light I would have seen it clear as day. Dave wishes I would get in the habit of flicking on lights, but on the other hand he knows he probably should have put the chair back in its place right away. I think he's done the Lord's work changing the battery, but on the other hand I'm the injured party. We're stuck in perfect blame parity. The only solution is in the beer fridge.

It's a classic standoff. It's a little like the Democrats vs. the Republicans, locked into positions and unable to move forward. Only in that case, one party balks at turning on the light and the other has excavated a pit in the bedroom and lined it with broken glass and wolverines. Other than that, same kind of deal.

I would like to state that neither Dave nor I is as extreme as I have depicted in this post, except me.

65 comments:

  1. Funny, funny! You must come to our house to settle all our stand offs.

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    1. Other people's standoffs are easy to settle.

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    2. In that case, get over to that other Washington and git settlin'...

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  2. Glad you're okay, after having been attacked by that chair. I am constantly amazed at your comic ability, Murr. Got me smiling all day. :-)

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    1. I can be taken down by a pebble, let alone a chair. I'm used to falling. Just not used to impalements.

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  3. Listen, if you were in Congress you'd automatically blame a third party, never yourself or the person who bought you a new boat or a beer.

    It would be a stretch to use the so-called liberal press, illegal laborers, North Korea spies or Syrian rebels for you accident, soooo, it's totally obvious, the chair's to blame. Bad, bad chair ... and by default, IKEA or Sears is the real culprit for not including a blinking light (battery operated) on the top of the chair.

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    1. I do like the blinky light idea. Actually, the whole house could be retrofitted for old eyes with those airplane light strips.

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  4. Mrs. C has similar lux regulations, she is a turner outer, but she believes in the "lights on people in" theory of burglar protection. The solution? She has light timers all over the place. I have been pretty well trained but occasionally forget to turn out a light. This upsets her greatly as she assumes it is an interloper in the house that does not know the rules.

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    1. That's the most annoying thing about burglars. They have no regard for the house protocol.

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  5. Lights are for people with weak memories. Fiant tenebrae!

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    1. You're not actually making my case here. I can't remember shit.

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    2. That explains a lot. You write down everything about shit so you don't have to remember it.

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    3. Sometimes when I do research, I look up my own stuff. So yeah. I don't remember shit.

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  6. I feel rather sorry for those wolverines having to deal with all that broken glass. The occasional crushed spleen is the price you pay for "Knowing" where you are in the dark.

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    1. I'd say it was a steep price, but as Dave would point out, I don't have that far to fall.

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  7. The one time I turned on a light to walk into a room (garage at my daughter's house), I still didn't notice a step down and fell, broke my ankle in two places. Lights are guarantees of nuthin'.

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    1. So you broke your ankle in the garage and also somewhere else? You're tough!

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    2. Ha ha ha.
      But not tough enough, apparently!

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  8. The older I get, the more light I need, my sewing room being the perfect illustration. There's a light on the cutting table, two lights on the sewing table and a light clamped to the ironing board. "Geez, mom, it's like the surface of the sun in here", observed my son one time. "The police are going to think you have a marijuana grow op going on." Har-de-har-har, I observed right back.

    You must have very youthful eyeballs to need such minimal illumination, young lady.

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    1. None of the above applies to my sewing room!

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  9. Thanks for my morning laugh! "The only solution is in the beer fridge." ...And a fine solution it is.

    I have a weird relationship with light switches. Like you, I'm the turner-offer while Hubby leaves all lights blazing, and I do tend to navigate in the dark if I'm just passing through. But when the lights are on, I want 'em bright! I'd rather sit in the dark than in a dingy room. I like pcflamingo's idea - the surface of the sun suits me just fine.

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  10. It's the same at our house. Hubby must have lights on when he's around. Buddy and I are fine with minimal lighting.
    But to read I do need a high voltage light bulb! Darn macula:(

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    1. Yeah, my reading eyes are starting to squawk.

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  11. Lights off, or lights blazing - either one suits me; just nothing in between, please. It gives me frown lines from trying to see when I can't. Actually I am starting to lean toward lights on as I inch toward the age where a broken hip can be the beginning of the end. You must be made of bouncier stuff than most!

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    1. I am WAY bouncier than most. And as often as I tip over that is a very good thing.

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  12. LED night lights use just a whisper of juice. I've found some winners: a auto on-off model from IKEA, several years old and working perfectly; a traditional-type night light bulbs using an LED; and, for the turtle lab, an LED projector for the ceiling. I chose the one with the solar system model as more logical for the ceiling than fishes, but the turtles tapped the fishes as, apparently, more beautiful than that solar system (true). Light duly exchanged. Turtles happy.

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    1. I dunno. The solar system one sounds good to me. I hate to think of fishes overhead. It means I'm somewhere I shouldn't be.

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  13. "The only solution is in the beer fridge." Haha! Love that!

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    1. It's kind of an all-purpose solution, at that.

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  14. Lights off for me too. And lights on, all of the lights on, for him.
    We have an oak sideboard in the dining room. In my night time peregrinations I ram its corner into my thigh at least one night a week. And often more. Himself tells me that if I turned the lights on I would have less bruises. I suspect we have sneaky attack furniture and it would get me anyway...

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    1. I actually stab myself with furniture often enough you'd have thought I'd have changed my ways by now. Evidently something smacked me in the head early on.

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  15. "I would like to state that neither Dave nor I is as extreme as I have depicted in this post, except me." Oh, and there was I thinking you never ever EVER turned the lights on and always groped your way from one room to another, while anything that demands illumination like reading books and eating meals has to wait until daylight hours. But that may not actually be the case....

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    1. Well, I can get a lot done by the light of the TV.

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  16. We do the one-turns-lights-on and one-turns-'em-off thing, too, but we seem to trade roles quite randomly. Haven't figured out why that happens, but there's probably a parallel in Congressional politics.

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    1. You probably both have an urge for moderation, so no, there's no parallel in Congressional politics.

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  17. You leave the TV on for Pootie? I don't feel so strange now: we have been known to leave the TV on cartoons for Anastasia Beautiful Bear.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Just because we leave the TV on for Pootie doesn't mean we're not strange.

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  18. I won't turn on a light when I get up in the middle of the night, either. I figure, after 20 years in this apartment, if I don't know my way around in the dark, I deserve to run into something.

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    1. And yet I booby-trap myself with shoes and OH! Did I mention we have a hole in the second floor that goes straight down the laundry chute to the first floor? And that the cover isn't always on it?

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  19. I prefer less light as well. My husband used to turn on lots of lights and I would go behind him switching them off. I rarely need a lot of light.

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  20. I would say that Dave is most definitely at fault here. He KNOWS you don't turn lights on, so he should have put the chair back. This reminds me of an Asian man I once worked with; his son refused to attend self defense lessons stating that he'd be okay, nothing was going to happen, so the Asian man PAID SOMEONE to mug his son to teach him a lesson....
    I always wandered around my home without lights too, because I know my way and where everything is, now in my current home there is even less need for lights as there is plenty of light coming in from outside, the lobby lights just outside the doors, street lights etc.
    Does Dave ever see the electricity bill?

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    1. Nah, I can't bring myself to think ill of anyone who takes the initiative on those smoke alarm batteries. He probably wandered off intending to come back and didn't, and meanwhile night fell. We don't really have much of an electricity bill. It's all hydro here and cheap as hell, plus we have solar panels to offset it.

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    2. Never move to Australia, electricity costs here aren't just sky high, they're somewhere in the stratosphere.

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  21. This light flicker thingy is most definitely a guy thingy! Our house too! Drives me nuts! And this summer it was backyard tiki torches! Could see the backyard from space!
    Yup, beer-thirty!

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    1. I kind of like the backyard lights thing. I don't do it, but I like it.

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  22. Even though I know where every stick of furniture is placed in this house, having put it there myself, I can veer off course in the dark and flounder around in varying states of danger, so it's lights for me. Just long enough to reorient myself, mind you. My Nana thought she would save money by putting 25 watt bulbs in everywhere, so you felt like you were going blind at the tender age of 8. It also left the upper floors of her old Victorian in a ghostly state of semi darkness which scared the tar out of me as a kid. I attribute that early experience as the source of my preference for good strong bright light. But I do turn lights off when I leave the room, unlike Himself who has been known to turn the lights on in a sun-filled room.

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    1. I can just see your Nana's house. Dimly, but I can. You know what's way worse than light people? People who turn on the TV when they come in the house and turn on music somewhere else and everything is going off at once. This makes them calm. This makes me want to tear my earballs out.

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    2. Oh I am so with you about this! One or t'other, and preferably neither.

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  23. Same dynamic in our home, except I'm the goddess of light and Ernie is The Dark Knight.

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    1. You do have a sort of slanted way of casting that characterization. We'll take it, though.

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  24. I turn off the lights because the Cooker keeps turning them on. I agree, though, that the solution is in the beer fridge. Maybe if the Democrats and Republicans sat down with a few beers they might be able to make a decision. A drunken one, maybe, but better than what they currently can't seem to do. Maybe we should all pitch in and send a refrigerator truck full of beer to the Capital (or is that Capitol?).

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    1. It's Capitol. I always have spare beer that we don't like that friends bring to the house. I can send that.

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  25. Precious! I had one of those Fiat Lux experiences last week when my 3-year old grandson visited. Every light switch in the house flicked on and off a thousand times. Repetition aids learning, I told myself - annoyed at the Total Totalitarian Tot.

    Like boat ownership, the two happiest days in the life of a grandparent: The day the kid arrives, and the day the kid leaves. "Tah, tah" (tee hee)!

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    1. Yeah! But you're not supposed to admit that.

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  26. This is absolutely hilarious! BRAVO!!

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  27. I am so glad to know that I am not the only one that has a hard time murdering Easter Bunnies from the ears down. It's just not right.

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    1. We must have a dozen of them. They're dusty. It ain't right. But I like Dave's instincts. If we were pioneers we'd starve to death.

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  28. I can picture you (honest. I have that kind of eyesight) wearing those house slippers that have lights in front of the toes so you can see where you're going. But YOU would put duct tape over them.

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  29. And people love darkness rather than light because. . .

    I laughed so hard I almost never made it to the disclaimer at the end. Then I laughed some more.

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