It happens every so often, that something strikes me as a little odd. Okay, it happens a lot.
The other night, I awoke to nature’s beckoning. I stumbled to the bathroom and answered the call. It took a minute or two, but as my eyes became accustomed to the surroundings, it struck me that everywhere I looked, there were lights. The GFI switch in the bathroom has an LED, as I walked to the hall I could see the lights in the kitchen to the left of me and lights coming from the bedroom to my right.
It occurred to me then, that we have become accustomed to the many light emitting appliances, switches and electrical devices that permeate our every night life. I thought to myself that when I was a child, I grew quite accustomed to counting the steps to the bedroom door, and down the hall to the bathroom. I had to, it was always pitch black. I had no night lights, lighted switches, radio or cable box LED lights to guide my passage.
I decided to go to the kitchen, where of course, the microwave lights and the stove lights provided a dim hue. The smoke detector was glowing faintly in the hall. Despite it being very late at night, there was a border of light framing the front window blind from outside. I walked over and opened the blind and looked down the street. Aside from the street lights, the lawns and houses were lit up like, well, Christmas trees.
It reminded me of Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. There were lights as far as I could see. Not just lights, thousands of lights, inflatable snowmen, reindeer and Santas, a globe with blowing snow and a penguin inside. The lights and the fans and the mechanical lazy susans, which drive the movements spinning the wheels on the hydro meters.
In my day, downtown Flowertown was nicely decorated with sparse strings of lights over storefronts with tinsel and decorative balls adorning doors, as were the majority of homes. A nighttime drive on Christmas Eve to see the lights in other parts of the town was a tradition. 8 or 9 strings of lights together was a real show, and if they blinked, well that was something.
Fast forward to today, holiday decorations are a booming industry. The bigger the better and you have to have more lights than your neighbors! I thought that we were all supposed to conserve electricity? The old 7 watt screw in bulbs have all but been replaced by LEDs, and because they are energy efficient we can use hundreds of them to create light displays that can be seen in space.
I love Christmas, the lights are spectacular, the decorations are amazing, and I guess maybe I’m a little jealous of what we have today compared to when I was younger.
As I walked back to my bedroom, I noticed the clock on the radio flashing brightly at me. I had been up almost 20 minutes staring into the lighted neighborhood. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I climbed back into bed and drew the blankets up around me. I closed my eyes and realized that darkness is hard to come by these days. I guess that illumination is progress!
Did Edison ever imagine this?