I am afraid of the dark. And this time of year, there’s a lot of it.
My fear is perfectly rational. I’m not some scaredy cat who dreads monsters lurking in the closet. Except for one particularly poor fashion choice of 1982 that shall haunt me for the remainder of my days from a fine wooden hanger because I know what I paid for it. Too much.
And, no, you may not have it.
I am not afraid of things that go bump in the night. Despite those creepy former neighbors in a flimsy rented duplex. Or dying in the dark. Although there was a brief time, around age 10, when I’d wake each night terrified that my sleeping brain might forget to keep my heart and lungs going. Then I realized that were I to die, I’d no longer have to worry about dying. Problem solved, Zombie Sandman.
No, the thing that haunts me in the dark is the idea that lingers after I hit the off switch on the beside lamp: Where did the light go?
Fortunately, there’s an Internet for questions like that. And Science Forum. Apparently, the light continues to travel through space forever and ever and ever. And herein lies the trouble. I’ve got some issues with infinity. It has no boundaries, for one thing. And if this thing is borderless and timeless and limitless then doesn’t it stand to reason that it must be absolutely everything including nothing? And up and down? And dark and light?
So how am I supposed to sleep?
And is it OK to keep the light on in the meantime?
Lights are responsible for about 20 percent of a home’s electric bill according to the Energy Trust of Oregon. Switching from traditional incandescent lightbulbs to energy-efficient ones can save some cash. They’ve made it even easier to make the switch by partnering with retailers to offer discounts on certain ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent lightbulbs. No coupon clipping required. The shelf prices at Ace/True Value Hardware, Albertson’s, Batteries Plus, Bed Bath and Beyond, Bi-Mart, Big Lots, Costco, Fred Meyer, Grover Electric and Plumbing Supply, Haggen, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Parr Lumber, Platt Electric Supply, Safeway, Walmart and Winco reflect the discount. The discount on lights, unlike light itself, does not go on forever and ever but does last until the end of the year.
I’ve also kind of fallen in love with these crazy LED lights at Environmental Lights. The string of lights, pictured above, is made to look like nature’s night light, a meteor shower. You can hook them up to a other lights and create a wall of falling, blazing space debris.
Now turn off the light.
Vivian McInerny is managing editor of Oregon Home.