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At my age, I prefer low lighting, rose-tinted bulbs, and the glow of the fireplace to the glare of fluorescent bulbs and LED illumination. No ‘hag lighting’ can be found in my house and NEVER any 100 watt bulbs (or whatever the equivalent is in low energy values). I wear sunglasses constantly (large ones that cover most of my face) and, in fact, can be identified mainly by those glasses. I even wear them indoors if the sun is out. It is only on the darkest, stormiest morning that I will turn on the light to read the newspaper.

In restaurants, I prefer the concept of a ‘romantic’ dinner with questionable illumination to being able to read the menu. I figure, if things get really bad, the waiter will rhyme off the specials and I’ll be none the worse for choices. In an effort to not be hypocritical, I use the same policy at home. (Of course, that was hardly a challenge when I lived alone since nothing is going to make a dinner of leftovers feel romantic when it’s eaten on a t.v. tray watching Wolf Blitzer analyze the latest global tragedy). I try not to drive at night since my vision is bad and the glare from other cars’ lights blinds me. And it goes without saying that any frisky bedtime activities are undertaken in TOTAL darkness. There is a certain age after which a woman is a fool to allow anything else.

But children (even adult ones) have a hard time grasping the general concept that dim lighting is best. Gill wasn’t too bad. When she lived with me, she’d enter the kitchen to find me reading and scream, “Ma! You’re gonna blind yourself if you read without a light!” And with that, she’d switch the kitchen light onto its highest setting. As I then sat in the blinding glow, cursing her concern for my health, my eyes tried to adjust…which is no mean feat since one pupil is constantly dilated ( a medical problem that is, for those suspicious readers, UNRELATED to drug use) and the other isn’t. But I could forgive her over zealous concern for my well-being.

But Gill and I generally agreed that we preferred low lighting. With the other two in situ now, the battle of the light switches is on. Crazy D and L’il Sis never met a light they didn’t like. As soon as they go into a room, the light goes on. And stays. They leave the room, leaving the light on for..what? The imaginary cleaning lady to see the dust? Which only shows up the need for a housekeeping expert to take over the care and cleaning of same…’cause nobody here seems able to do it. It doesn’t take long for every light in the house to be on. And this has attracted the attention of the neighborhood. I visited a friend yesterday and, while discussing Hallowe’en, she noted that she thought I’d been giving out candy this year– unlike previous years when I’ve kept the house dark and hidden upstairs.

“I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” she said. “Your house was lit up like a Christmas tree.”

“Yes, well, Crazy D is with me. He has this strange tendency to turn lights on when he cooks, uses sharp knives to chop, works on the computer, plays with his sound equipment in the basement, does laundry. I mean, how much light does a person need? I thought a truly expert chef can FEEL what he’s chopping. It’s obvious he’s never had to pay separate hydro bills. It was hidden in his rent. Maybe for Christmas I’ll gift him the monthly bill. I mean, I’m not going to pay double for a light to  be on when five minutes before, in non-peak time, it was half the cost. This is one time I appreciate Gill’s tenure in the UK. Her power bills are so high she sometimes doesn’t turn the heat on until the evening. Now that’s thrift! So when she comes home, she appreciates my warm, dark house.”