27 October 2012
Casting a light
Lighting in my flat is interesting. The living room and kitchen have those overhead lights that make the room feel like an operating theatre. As I don't have to suture anyone, and don't particularly admire the ambience of operating theatres, I use what is known to interior designers as 'task lighting'. More about that later.
The bedroom doesn't have an overhead light. Instead, there is a lamp on one wall with a little twisty switch on the base. It looks, cunningly, like an old fashioned gaslight fitting, and like old fashioned gaslight, it flickers. Only when it flickers off, it forgets to flicker on. There have been times when I have been in the bowels of my closet and the room has plunged into darkness. "Thank goodness", I say to myself, "this closet is so small, or else how would I get out of here in all this dark?"
The bathroom light fixture is wired up to the exhaust fan. The primary function of this fan is to make a great deal of noise. I have tried to explain (sometimes through pleading) that it should also remove the moisture in the room, but it continues to do things its own way. During the height of summer, I could on occasion take my shower, eat breakfast, wait, eat lunch, then go back to find the mirror was just about clear.
The kitchen's overhead light burned out a few months ago, and as the ceilings are roughly 30 feet high (no, obviously they're not, but as I cannot jump high enough, nor do I have a chair tall enough to reach, the point is moo.) (And yes, I totally meant moo. Didn't you watch Friends?)
In each room I have set up table lamps. Some of them are quite nice; most of them are cute Ikea lamps. Even the bathroom has one. The difficulty lies in the quaintsome charm of this old house. In the living room there are only two working outlets. Well, three, but one of them is scary... and that's another story. This means I use a lot of extension cords etc. in order to plug in all that needs plugging in. It also means there is a black hole in the living room. The arm chair is placed perfectly in the one spot not covered by arcs of light from the lamps I already owned. So I hunted for, and found, a lovely floor lamp. I was very pleased with my purchase. However, once I got it home and tried to find the right place for it, nothing works. The light either comes blindingly over my shoulder, casting great shadows over what I'm trying to read, or it looms in front of me like an ominous contraption used for interrogations.
I often wonder what people can see of me through the window as they pass by on the street. Some evenings I'm up and down like a jack-in-the-box, moving the lamp this way and that, trying to find the sweet spot where I have enough light to read by, but not so much I'm willing to divulge highly sensitive state secrets.
I'm thinking of giving up on the whole lighting scheme and going with one of those miner's hats with the flashlight stuck to the front. That way I'll always be able to see where I'm at and what I'm looking at. Think of the savings on the hydro bill! And, my goodness, talk about ambience! Might be a little rough on the hairdo, but it just might be worth a try.