When do you turn on the lights?

When do you turn on the lights?  I for one am prone to walking around in a dark house.  I often wonder whether other people do the same.walking-in-darkness

This is not a rhetorical question. Do you always turn on the lights in your house?  In a motel room?  At a stranger’s house?  (We can ignore the question “when do you turn on your headlights — that answer is pretty consistent from state to state. We needn’t quibble about accepted practice.)

dark-streetGrowing up in our house there was a sense that telephones and electricity were expensive.  I can remember the day when we went from a party line to a private line — that seemed (to my parents) an unreasonable added expense but my dad needed to be available to be called into work so we bore the expense.  And, he might have worked for the local electric utility but there were certainly no employee discounts, that’s for sure!  I grew up hearing that electric heating was so ‘terribly expensive’ — a theory I never tested until a month ago. castle-hall

My point being that in the back of my brain there is this monster called “Wasting Energy” and I was taught to respect it.  That, and the fact that I know my way around my own home.

I do.

  • I keep the floor cleared of obstructions.
  • I may not be blind, and I may not have counted the steps from every point to every other point but I’m perfectly able to walk through our home in the dark.

So, a lot of the time I go from place to place and never turn on the lights. And I’m perplexed because when I visit people it seems they have all the lights on all the time.  And photos of new interior design seem to have pot-lights and task lighting and all manner of light controls and I just wonder “why all the lights?”

I like light!  I like natural light.  As a photographer I’m plenty familiar with task lighting — I made my living with it.  But I still don’t get why people need so many lights; and when they have them why they are always turned on?

Heck — I even walk around motel rooms in the dark.  Because I’ve often had jobs where I worked on computers I tend to keep my offices dark.  More than once visitors to my place of work thought I was out of the building because the lights were off in my office.  Of course there was the glow of the computer terminal (in the days of “computer terminals”) — but they didn’t seem to consider that adequate.  What’s the matter with a little dim lighting?

At my age I’m not going to change.  But I have to say that when I hear TV commercials about seniors who “have fallen and can’t get up,” I do ponder the whole walking-around-in-the-dark way of living.  Peggy is quicker with a light switch.  That’s ok.  Sometimes I walk around after her turning OFF the lights — but not too often.  And I have the strangest habit of leaving lights on in certain places even when no one’s in the room — so how’s that for consistency?  I will occasionally leave a light on in my office all day — and I may not be there at all.

I’ve wondered sometimes whether it’s an issue with glare.  I wear prescription sunglasses outdoors most of the time.  Peggy is always asking me (when the sun is going down) “are you sure you don’t want you regular glasses yet?”  And it’s not that I have a medical condition where I can’t see correctly in bright light.  I see just fine.  I just prefer that it not be quite so bright.  Or not quite to light.  Or maybe even a little darker!

It’s funny how we learn to behave in certain ways and gradually those learned behaviors become who we are.  I’ve often said that as we age we become caricatures of our younger selves as some traits are emphasized and others minimized.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you ever come to visit, don’t worry, We’ll turn the lights on for you just like Motel 6…  In the meantime, I’ll be here again tomorrow. Stop in and say hi (in the dark).




10 thoughts on “When do you turn on the lights?

  1. Don’t know about others, but I keep a couple of small lights on at night because I have two black cats that have a habit of getting underfoot. If they would just stay in one place I wouldn’t need the lights 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Onyxnoir666 — First of all, thanks for commenting!

      I nearly spurted coffee out my nose when I read your comment about the cats! Being at this point a non-furbearing-family I had forgotten about times when we had a dog — although ours was an English Bulldog who was lazier than I and slept on our couch — so I didn’t have problems with him getting underfoot. LOVE it. Would not want to step on a pet for sure.


  2. That brought back memories of our first two Golden Retrievers. Katie was the dark gold variety, while Dakota was light tan. Poor Katie was getting tripped over by me all the time at night!

    Any chance of you installing solar on the roof of your new place?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim — not sure what the payback would be. With electric at about $0.09 kwh it’s pretty cheap down here. Texas allows you to select your own electric utility; they use smart meters so in some way I don’t understand individual companies buy from the electric producers and sell it to us from the meter. Big mystery to me, but it’s cheaper than in WI where it’s currently about $0.16/kwh I believe.

      Want to put a new metal roof on what’s here now. It’s not in terrible shape but for a $3500 investment we’ll be good for longer than I’ll be in the house.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah — the added insulation is already figured into that cost. Might have to wait a few months for the bank balance to recover but will do this as soon as we can afford it.

        Also thinking about switching our RV sale effort over to PPL in Houston….



  3. Inside the house I need more light than Dave does. Outside I wear my sunglasses more often than most people do. Apparently I have a very limited range of light in which I’m comfortable.


  4. I am a cave dweller… Having worked in server rooms for decades, the climate control battling the heat, most often lights were dimmed.
    I schlump around the house in absolute darkness, happily.
    I did get a timer that controls one low wattage lamp that comes on at dusk and turns off at daybreak. Otherwise, it’s a mole-hole at the casa.

    (Greetings from San Antonio. Glad you made it here!)


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