Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Light Fight

According to people like James Dobson, normal couples clash over where to set the thermostat.  He's always hot; she's always cold.  Or vise versa.

We have the occasional difference, especially when camping, where it's a matter of covers rather than setting the thermostat.

Paul slides into a sleeping bag wearing minimal garments and slumbers happily all night long.

I wear a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, layers, and garments.  And I pick the thickest sleeping bag, with a mat underneath, and I shiver and turn all night long.

But he always feels sorry for me in the morning, and gets the fire going to make tea, so it's not like we really clash over this.

Here's where we really differ: over light.

Maybe it's my genes from my Amish grandma, who waited to light the gas lamps until the sun had set and the lingering dusk had turned to darkness and we almost had to stab around with the fork to find the last bite of pie on our plates.

Light is good, but there's no need to overdo it.  That's my philosophy.

Especially in the morning.  In the morning, in a perfect world, I would slowly, slowly adjust my eyes to the dawn, shades drawn, and not switch on a light until I have that first cup of tea in hand some 15 minutes after I get up, and then only a pretty little 25-watt lamp back in the corner of the counter.

Not so my husband.

It's leap out of bed, march into the bathroom, and click click click everything is lit up like the OR at Sacred Heart about to host an open-heart surgery, Autzen Stadium hosting a night game, the old East German border back when a hapless escapee triggered the wrong wire and turned on the floodlights.  Brilliant light blazing everywhere is how he likes it, and he happily bangs and slams and flushes, then gets dressed and leaves the bathroom lights on and cheerfully marches on to the kitchen, where a single click lights the scene like a Broadway stage on opening night.

We note here that when we remodeled both the kitchen and the bathroom, he made sure we had light fixtures featuring numerous light bulb sockets--two hanging arrangements of multiple bulbs each in the kitchen; a row of bulbs all around the big bathroom mirror, plus a viciously bright heat lamp in the bathroom.

He just likes lots of light.

Meanwhile, I am still in bed, the covers over my head.  But I know I have to get up.

I squinch my eyes shut and force myself to stumble into the bathroom, missing the edge of the door if I'm lucky, and the blast of light assaults me like a physical force.  With one arm over my eyes I grope with the other--swatting desperately until I hit that switch and the floodlights switch off.  Blessed relief.

I slowly take care of the morning ablutions in semi-darkness, which is all anyone needs if you ask me, and then it's off to the kitchen to face the second assault of wattage coming at me like the Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill.

I surrender.

We have never found common ground in this little battle of preferences.

Paul, wanting to do me a favor because of my winter depression, installed bright daylight-spectrum light bulbs in the office and sewing room.  The problem is, you don't need an overhead light when you're working on the computer.  The computer lights up, you know.

So I'll be working on the computer and he comes in and switches on the light, sighing, "I don't see why you sit there in darkness if you struggle with SAD all winter."

The truth is, it doesn't cross my mind to turn on the light.  The light from the computer is perfectly adequate for any computer work, obviously, and there's enough window light to do paperwork.

Thankfully, Paul has at least learned not to turn on the overhead light while I'm trying to sleep. I've learned to switch on the bright lights for him when I'm brushing my teeth and he's trying to shave.

We would both love to own the moral high ground on this but have to admit it's not exactly a moral issue.  But I have to admit that he has more Scripture on his side than I do, what with, "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil," and all the verses about the perpetual light shining in Heaven.

But I am counting on God to give me a more light-tolerant set of eyes when I get there.

I don't want to go around Heaven with one arm over my eyes, walking into doors.

Quote of the Day:
"What if SHE doesn't like HIM??  That would be so awkward.  If her DAD didn't like it, they could just have a Romeo and Juliet.  Without the dying."
--Jenny, who likes to share her opinion on the various young courting (or potentially courting) couples in her life


  1. YES!! It's the same here.
    Ugh. I thought you were going to have some great compromise examples & answers or something. I guess we just have to overlook and love and it really is GOOD FOR US, right???

  2. We are the same way. My husband LOVES light. When a bulb burns out, we fight about how high the watts should be in the replacement bulb! :)

  3. Yup. We've got this goin' on, too. One time, I woke up to a bright light and a man whacking wildly about the bed. With a broom.

    "Bats!" shouted my husband, the Frantic Whacker. Sure enough. One had gotten in and was flying about the house. I'm not even kidding.

    So now I'm thinking a bright light in and of itself isn't so bad. Not after an episode that ended with a dead bat on a dustpan proudly presented by Indiana Jones.


  4. Sorry, Sharon, no easy answers for this one...but I won't go so far as to say it's good for us.

  5. Treva, that made me smile.

    Rhonda--wow, now that is perspective. Bright lights PLUS a bat and flailing broom is far worse than just bright lights. True stuff there.

  6. Yeah, I can relate... I always figured my aversion to bright light was because my eyes are too sensitive to bright light. I have worn photo gray glasses for many years and that helps a lot.

    About temperatures - I love to sleep cold but my husband likes it warm, very warm. Yesterday morning I woke up with our BR cold, like sixty degrees, air conditioning running...came out to the kitchen and my husband had the gas logs burning! Both of us were happy! lol

  7. Don't you think the Lord must smile a bit, when He puts two "opposites" together?? It wouldn't be any fun if we always agreed!! :-) I love your postings!!

  8. Wonderful!

    This can't be a sex-linked genetic trait because the converse is true here.

    Maybe the real problem is that your husband wasn't born in Minnesota... chuckle...

    When I used to recruit employees from California and the Midwest to move to the Northwest they often struggled with SAD. Not a joke.

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  10. The Baritone10/18/2012 8:34 PM

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  12. Great post! I do have to give the hubby credit for trying to decrease the amount of SAD that you suffer. However, there is evidence that the amount of OVERHEAD light really does very, very little to relieve the problem. There must be direct retinal contact with a certain wattage for a sustained amount of time over a certain amount of days to even begin to make a difference in mood. That means that you have to sit in front of wattage and stare into the lights for a certain amount of time daily for many days to get any effect. Talk with your Doctor; you can get a prescription then a light source from a medical supply place. Lights from Walmart won't do it!

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  14. You could throw the environment into it to make it a moral issue. :)