Last night I was struggling–as I struggle every night–to turn off my bedroom light. It’s a fancy, newfangled thing that provides ample frustration for me each evening as I try to go to bed. Gone, it would seem, are the days of the blessedly simple light switch; can you even remember what that was? Oh, to be a child of the ‘80s, when you could walk into a room and, without a thought in your head, throw your finger on the switch and flick up for light, down for dark. Life was simple, and we lived it within two phosphorescent categories: light or dark. No shades of gray.
Today, things are different. The world of illumination has evolved from a two-act play to a six night miniseries, special effects included. Now, when I walk into a room, I’ve got some decisions to make. Do I want full light, reading light, warm dusk or evening glow? I need to quickly decide so I can determine how long to hold the push-bar thingy (I think it’s called a dimmer?) down. What I really want is to just flick it off without stopping as I walk to my bed, but my Fancy Dimmer won’t allow it. No, I have to pause between brushing my teeth and fluffing my pillow to ascertain my lighting needs for the next twenty minutes. Will I be reading, chatting with my husband, working on my laptop, or sleeping? The lighting level must correspond with the prescribed activity, and it must be selected pronto, before I pass by that dimmer and get into bed only to find myself saddled with Reading Light when what I really needed was Evening Glow.