Out Like a Light

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Trina MachacekThere is one big reason he sun goes down every day, it is so it gets dark. In darkness we sleep. It is dark, quiet, calm; all the things that go along with sleeping. Unless you have one of the light people living in your house. Those nocturnal creatures that need more bright light than the sun puts out. The nighttime creepers that, when nature calls at 2:15 a.m., turns on the bedside light, the hall light, the bathroom light above the sink and the light above the commode. Then on the way back to beddie-by there is a stop in the kitchen for a drink of water and those lights go on (hence the 4 a.m. nature call). A check of the e-mail and the lights supporting the computer area go on. Might as well check the news on the television so the living room lights go on. And on and on and on…

I am all for safety and during the night we all need illumination to light our way. I have stubbed many a toe without lights, of course I stub toes during the day too, as I am a serial toe stubber. Oh that is a whole other yaddity session. But about those lights…

I do not begrudge anyone turning on a light to get to where you are going, but, and here is the rub, would it kill you to turn off the light when you are done? When I reach for a light switch to turn it off I can feel my father patting me on the back. It may have taken him about 18 or 19 years of my life to get it through my thick skull, but he is in there now and whispers, “Turn off the light, turn off the light” when I find a light on. Each time I walk by a room with no one in it and the light has again been left on, my hand automatically reaches for that ivory colored cool to the touch switch and I flip it off. Well that came out kinda wrong…

Maybe it is, as are most things, a woman/man difference. While in a store a while back the power went out and it was dark, really dark. A friend of mine needed to use the facilities and she proceeded into the restroom. It was what we call a one hole-er, so she proceeded in alone. While she was in there I asked, through the door, if she wanted a light. She reported back that no a light was not needed, she had done this task many, many times before and knew where everything was! Now that is confidence. Had that been a guy I am betting a light would have been called for, maybe even a trip outside, behind the building, in the weeds. We live in a very rural area!

I can see that sometimes there is a need for lighting at night. A sick child, a boogie man under the bed, a faint knock at the door, (which I will not answer I don’t care how broke down your car is, and you shouldn’t be out that late anyway!) Fell off track again didn’t I.

There was some discussion in our household as to whether there was bigger energy cost used in turning the florescent lights in the ceiling in our kitchen off and on, or if it was more energy efficient to just leave them on. I am not an electrician so I was in no position to debate this conundrum. Until… One day we needed new ballasts replace in the kitchen lights, (I say it was because the lights were on too much…) so I hired some guys from an electrical company to change the fixtures. As they were in the kitchen, light fixtures and bulbs all around, I asked them, “So, is it more economical to just leave the lights on since there is some expense to turning them on because they have those little starters in them? Or is it better to turn them off and on as you need them?” The two of us sat there waiting for the answer, the anticipation grew. Who would finally win this little war? The guy, not knowing what was at stake, nonchalantly says, “Oh it is always better to turn off lights when you aren’t using them.” I did not gloat– outwardly!

Finally, I can say without any reservation, “The lights are on but nobody is home—so turn the lights off.”

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at itybytrina@yahoo.com

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